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Natural History of Gallinaceous Birds, 
Columbidee or Pigeons. 

Genus VINAGO, 

Aromatic Vinago. 

Vinago aromatica. Plate 1 95 

Sharp- Tailed Vinago. 

Vinago oxyura. Plate II 98 

Genus PTILINOPUS, 100 

Purple-Crowned Turteline. 

Ptilinopus purpuratus. Plate III. . . 1 03 
Blue-capped Turteline. 

Ptilinopus monachus. Plate IV. . . . 107 
Blue and Green Turteline. 

Ptilinopus cyano-virens. Plate V. . . 109 

Genus CARPOPHAGA. 112 

Magnificent Fruit-Pigeon. 

Carpophaga magnified. Plate VI. . . 115 
Oceanic Fruit-Pigeon. 

Carpophaga oceanica. Plate VII. 1 i? 


Pheasant- Tailed Pigeon. 

Columba Phasianella. Plate VIII. . . 120 

Genus COLUMBA, 124 

Chestnut-Shouldered Pigeon. 

Columba spadicea. Plate IX. . . . A 27 
Double-Crested Pigeon. 

Qtlumba dilopha. Plate X. . . 129 

Ring Pigeon, or Cushat. 

Columba palumbus. Vignette Title-page. . 133 
Wood Pigeon. 

Columba (Enas. Plate XL ... 143 

Bisset or Wild Rock- Pigeon. 

Columba lima. Plate XII ]46 - 

Broad or Fan- tailed Shaker. 

Columba var. tremula latecauda, Plate XIII. 157 
Jacobine Pigeon. 

Cvlumba cucullata Jacobina. Plate XIV. . 159 
Powter or Cropper Pigeon. 

Columba var. Gutturosa subrubicunda 

Plate XV . 161 

Turkish or Mawmet Pigeon. 

Columba Turcica. Plate XVI. . . . 164 
Genus TURTUR, .... 169 

Collared Turtle. 

Turtus risorius. Plate XVII. . . . 170 
Crested Turtle. 

Turtur . Lophotes. Plate XVIII. . . 174 
Genus ECTOPISTES. . . . . . j-g 

Passenger Turtle. 

Ectopistes migratoria* Plate XIX. . . 177 
Cape Turtle. 

Ectopistes?< Capensis, Plate XX. . . ]9 

Genus PHAPS, 194 

Bronze- Winged Ground Dove. 

Phaps Chalcoptera. Plate XXL . . . 195 




Ferruginous Ground Dove. 

Chcemepelia Talpicotl Plate XXII. . . 200 

Genus PERISTERA, 203 

Tambourine Ground Dove. 

Peristera tympanistria. Plate XXIII. . 205 
White-bellied Ground Dove. 

Peristera Jamaicensis. Plate XXIV. . 207 

Copper-coloured Ground Dove. 

Peristera Martinica. Plate XXV. . . 200 
White-fronted Ground Dove. 

Peristera larvata. Plate XXVI. . . 211 

Genus GEOPHILUS, 214 

Blue-headed Ground Pigeon. 

Geophilus^ cyanocephalus. Plate XXVII. 216 

Carunculated Ground Pigeon. 

Geophilus carunculatus. Plate XXVIII. . 218 
Nicobar Ground Pigeon. 

Geophilus Nicobaricus, Plate XXIX. . 221 

Genus LUPHYRUS, 224 

Crowned Goura Pigeon. 

Lophyrus coronatus. Plate XXX. . . 225 


Vignette Title-page. The Ring- Pigeon, or Cushat, 3 

In all Thirty-two Plates in this Volume. 




-4TY }y 

THE life of PLINY, like that of most men whose 
days are spent in study and retirement, is meagre 
of incident. Although he appears to have travelled 
over a great part of Europe in the service of the 
state ; to have visited Africa, and perhaps Egypt and 
Palestine, yet no record of these adventures has been 
preserved ; and had it not been for the occasional 
notices that occur in his own writings, and especially 
the information respecting his private habits and li- 
terary labours, contained in the Epistles of his ne- 
phew and namesake, Pliny the Younger, posterity 
would have known nothing of the biography of this 
great historian of Nature, except the era in which 
he flourished, the works he produced, and the re- 
markable circumstances attending his death. Of the 
different accounts of this illustrious author which we 
possess, the most ancient is that ascribed to Sueto- 
nius, the most ample is given by Count Rezzonico 



in the Fifth Book of his Researches, the most 
scientific by Baron Cuvier, in the Biographic Uni- 
verselle. Where so little has been communicated, 
it is not to be expected that our narrative can be 
either very copious or very explicit in its details ; 
but scanty as the materials are, enough has been 
preserved to enable us to delineate the character, as 
well as to appreciate the merits, of this extraordinary 
man, whose Natural History has been aptly denomi- 
nated the Encyclopaedia of Ancient Knowledge. 

CAIUS PLINIUS SECUNDUS, surnamed the Elder, 
and also the Naturalist, was descended of a noble 
family, and born in the reign of Tiberius, in the 
20th, or according to others the 23d year of the 
Christian era. The place of his nativity has been 
disputed, three cities in Italy having contended for 
that honour. Father Hardouin, one of the ablest of 
his editors and commentators, supposes, but without 
any good authority for his opinion, that he was born 
at Rome. Suetonius, St Jerome in his Chronicle 
of Eusebius, the learned Spanheim, Paul Cigalini, 
who has written two elaborate dissertations on the 
subject, the Count Rezzonico, and some others, 
make him a native of Comum, a city in the Mi- 
lanese territory ; but from an expression which he 
himself uses in the dedicatory epistle prefixed to his 
History, wherein he calls the poet Catullus his coun- 
tryman (conterraneus) ; and since Catullus was born 
at Verona, this latter city has claimed the Naturalist 


as her own. As the two places, however, are not 
very distant from each other, and as it is certain that 
the Plinian family were settled at Comum, where 
they possessed large property, and where various in- 
scriptions have heen found relative to several of its 
members, the presumption is, notwithstanding the 
appellation bestowed on Catullus, that his birthplace 
was the usual residence of his ancestors. It was at 
Comum, too, that his nephew, the Younger Pliny, 
was born, so well known by his Letters. 

Without farther pursuing this controversy, which 
has elicited much erudite disquisition, we shall proceed 
to state that at an early age the Naturalist was sent 
to Rome, where he attended the lectures of Appion. 
By this time the Emperor Tiberius had withdrawn 
to Capreae, for the more secure enjoyment of his 
luxuries and unlawful pleasures ; and it does not ap- 
pear that Pliny ever saw him. But it has been sup- 
posed that he assisted occasionally at the Court of 
Caligula ; and we have his own authority that he had 
seen the Empress Lollia Paulina, of whose extrava- 
gance in jewellery, he gives so amusing an account, 
that we shall present it in the quaint style of Dr 
Philemon Holland, the only translation (to the shame 
of British literature be it spoken) which our language 
possesses. The passage, moreover, will serve to give 
us some idea of the female fashions of Rome at that 
period, and the costly passion of the ladies for foreign 
ornaments. " Our dames take a great pride in 
brauerie, to haue pearies not only hung dangling at 


their fingers, but also two or three of them together 
pendant at their eares. And names they haue, for- 
sooth, newly deuised for them, when they seme their 
turne, in this their wanton excesse and superfluitie of 
roiot ; for when they knocke one against another, as 
they hang at their eares or fingers, they call them 
Crotaliay i. e. cymbals, as if they tooke delight to 
heare the sound of their pearles ratling together. 
Now-a-dayes, also, it is growne to this passe, that 
meane women and poore men's wiues, affect to weare 
them because they would be thought rich ; and a 
bye-word it is amongst them, that a faire pearle at a 
woman's eare, is as good in the streete where she 
goeth as an huisher to make way, for that euerie 
one will giue such the place. Nay, our gentlewo- 
men are seene now to weare them vpon their feet ; 
and not at their shoo-latchets only, but also at their 
start-tops and fine buskins, which they garnish all 
ouer with fine pearles ; for it will not suffice nor seme 
their turne to cane pearles about them, but they must 
tread upon pearles, goe among pearles, and walk as 
it were on a pauemerit of pearles. I myselfe have 
seen Lollia Paulina, (late wife, and after widdow, to 
Caius Caligula, the Emperor,) when she was dressed 
and set out, not in stately wise, nor of purpose for 
some great solemnitie, but only when she was to goe 
to a wedding supper, or rather to a feast where the 
assurance was made, and great persons they were 
not that made the said feast. I haue seen her, I say, 
beset and bedeckt all ouer with hemeraulds and 


pearles, disposed in rewes, ranks, and courses, one 
by another, round about tbe attire of her head, her 
cawle, her borders, her peruk of hair, her bond grace 
and chaplet, at her eares pendant, about her neck in 
a carcanet, vpon her wrest in bracelets, and on her 
fingers in rings, that she glittered and shon again like 
the sun as she went. The value of these ornaments 
she esteemed and rated at 400,000 hundred (40 mil- 
lions) sesterces ;* and offered fairly to proue it off- 
hand by her bookes of accounts and reckonings. 
Yet were not these jewels the gifts and presents of 
the prodigall prince her husband, but the goods and 
ornaments from her own house, fallen to her by way 
of inheritance from her grandfather, which he had 
gotten together, etien by the robbing and spoiling of 
whole prouinces. It was not sufficient, belike, (con- 
tinues our author, in reprobating the luxuries of his 
fellow-citizens,) to bring the seas into the kitchen 
to let them down the throat into the bellie, vnlesse 
men and women both caried them about in their 
hands and eares, vpoti their head, and all ouer their 
body. And yet what societie and affinitie is there 
betwixt the sea and apparell ; what proportion be- 
twixt the waues and surging billowes thereof, and 
wooll ? for surely this element naturally receiues us 
not in her bosom, vnlesse we be stark-naked ; and 
set the case, there were so great good fellowship 
with it and our bellies, how comes our backe and 

* Equivalent, perhaps, to L. 400,000 Sterling. 


sides to be acquainted with it ? But wee were not 
contented to feed with the peril of so many men, 
vnlesse we be clad and araied also therewith. O the 
folly of vs men ! See, how, there is nothing that 
goeth to the pampering and trimming of this our car- 
casse, of so great price and account, that is not bought 
with the vtmost hasard, and costeth not the venture 
of a man's life '" 

The attention of Pliny, even at this early age. was 
attracted by the interesting productions of nature, 
and particularly by the remarkable animals which 
the emperors exhibited in the public spectacles. He 
relates in detail, in his ninth book, and as an eye- 
witness, the capture of a huge whale, or other large 
monster of the deep, which was taken alive in the 
harbour of Ostia, at the mouth of the Tiber, and 
slain by the darts and javelins of certain Prajtorian 
cohorts, for the amusement of the people of Rome. 
This event having taken place while Claudius was 
constructing the port in question, that is, in the second 
year of his reign, the youthful philosopher could not 
have been at that time more than about nineteen 
years of age. We learn from himself that, about hie 
twenty-second year, he resided for a time on the coast 
of Africa. It was at this period that some modern 
writers have alleged, on no very substantial evidence 
however, that he served in the Roman fleet, and 
visited Britain, Greece, and some other eastern coun- 
tries. But these suppositions do not accord with 


the testimony of his nephew, who asserts that, while 
yet quite young, he was employed in the Roman ar- 
mies in Germany. He there served under Lucius 
Pomponius, whose friendship he gained, and who 
entrusted him with the command of a part of the 
cavalry. In these campaigns he must have availed 
himself very fully of the opportunity to explore the 
country ; since he informs us that he had seen the 
sources of the Danuhe, and had also visited the 
Chauci, a tribe that dwelt between the Elbe and the 
Weser, on the borders of the Northern Ocean. The 
operations of the war seem not entirely to have en- 
grossed his time, as he found leisure to write a trea- 
tise (his first work) De Jaculatione Equestri, on the 
art of throwing the javeline on horseback. He also 
composed a life of his General, Pomponius, which 
was dictated by his strong attachment to that com- 
mander, and by the gratitude which he felt for his 
numerous favours. He was induced about the same 
period to engage in a literary enterprise of great la- 
bour, viz. that of composing the history of all the 
wars carried on in Germany by the Romans. This 
undertaking, as recorded by his nephew, was sug 
gested to him by a remarkable dream, in which the 
shade of Drusus appeared to him, and urged him to 
write his memoirs, a task which he eventually exe- 
cuted in the compass of twenty books. 

About the age of thirty Pliny returned to Rome, 
where he pleaded several causes according to the 
custom of his countrymen, who were fond of allying 


the profession of arms with the practice of the bar. 
It does not appear that he held any official situation, 
and during the greater part of the reign of Nero, he 
seems to have remained without any employment 
from the state. He spent a portion of his time at 
Comum, where he superintended the education of 
his nephew ; and it was probably for his use that he 
composed a work on Eloquence, in six volumes, en- 
titled " Studiosus" (the Student), in which he con- 
ducts the orator from his cradle onward, until he had 
reached the perfection of his art. A quotation from 
it, made by Quintilian, leads us to infer that in this 
treatise the author even pointed out the manner in 
which the orator should regulate his dress, his person, 
his gesture, and his deportment on the tribunal. An- 
other grammatical work (Dubii Sermonis), on the 
precise signification and choice of words, appeared 
towards the close of Nero's reign, when the terror 
inspired by that monster's cruelties had driven vir- 
tue and excellence into banishment, and imposed a 
check on all liberal and elevated pursuits. It has 
been supposed, however, from chronological compu- 
tation, that he was named by that emperor procura- 
tor in Spain. His nephew says expressly that he 
filled that office, and he himself mentions certain 
observations which he made in that country. There, 
it is to be presumed (for we find no other period of 
his life at which the event could have occurred), 
he continued to reside during the civil wars of Galba, 
Otho, and Vitellius ; perhaps, also, during the first 


years of the reign of Vespasian, as we find that his 
absence abroad obliged him to depute the guardian- 
ship of his nephew to the care of Virginias Rufus. 

On his return to Italy he seems to have made some 
stay in the south of Gaul ; for he informs us that he 
saw there a stone said to have fallen from the sky ; 
and he describes with great exactness the province 
of Narbonne, particularly the fountain of Vaucluse. 
At Rome, Vespasian, with whom he had been on 
intimate terms during the German wars, gave him 
a very favourable reception, and was in the habit of 
calling him to his apartment every morning before 
sunrise, a privilege which, according to Suetonius 
and Xiphilinus, was reserved only for his particular 
friends. It is not certain, though probable, that Ves- 
pasian raised him to the rank of senator ; nor is 
there any proof that he served with Titus in the 
war against the Jews. What lie remarks concern- 
ing Judea is not sufficiently exact to induce us to 
believe that he speaks from personal observation ; 
and besides, it is hardly possible to assign to any 
other period of his life than this, the composition of 
his work on the " History of his own Times," in 
thirty-one books, and forming a continuation of that 
by Aufidius Bassus, an author who flourished under 
Augustus, and wrote an account of the wars in Ger- 
many. Whether or not he was the military com- 
panion of that emperor in the east, he was honoured 
with his intimate friendship, and to him he dedicated 


the last and most important of his writings, his " Na- 
tural History." 

What we know of the private character, the vast 
erudition, and incredible industry of PJiny, is chiefly 
derived from his nephew, whose account we shall 
transcribe in his own words, from the Epistle ad- 
dressed to his friend Macer. After mentioning 
the different works which we have already enume- 
rated, he thus proceeds : " You will wonder how 
a man so engaged as he was, could find time to com- 
pose such a number of books, and some of them, 
too, upon abstruse subjects. But your surprise will 
rise still higher, when you hear that for some time 
he engaged in the profession of an advocate ; that he 
died at the age of fifty-six ; that from the time of his 
quitting the bar to his death, he was employed part- 
ly in the execution of the highest posts, and partly 
in a personal attendance of those emperors who ho- 
noured him with their friendship. But he had a 
quick apprehension, joined to unwearied application. 
In summer he always began his studies as soon as 
it was night ; in winter generally at one in the mor- 
ning ; but never later than two, and often at mid- 
night. No man ever spent less time in bed ; inso- 
much that he would sometimes, without retiring 
from his books, take a short sleep and then pursue 
his studies. Before daybreak he used to wait upon 
Vespasian, who likewise chose that season to trans- 
act business. When he had finished the affairs 


which that emperor committed to his charge, he re- 
turned home again to his books. After a short and 
light repast at noon (agreeably to the good old cus- 
tom of our ancestors), he would frequently in the 
summer, if he was disengaged from business, repose 
himself in the sun, during which time some author 
was read to him, from whom he made extracts and 
observations ; as indeed this was his constant method, 
whatever book he read, for it was a maxim of his, 
* that no book was so bad, but something might be 
learned from it/ When this was over, he generally 
went into the cold bath, and as soon as he came out 
of it, just took a slight refreshment, and then repos- 
ed himself for a little while. Then, as if it had 
been a new day, he immediately resumed his studies 
till supper- time, when a book was again read to him, 
on which he would make some hasty remarks. I re- 
member once his reader having pronounced a word 
wrong, somebody at the table made him repeat it 
again, upon which my uncle asked his friend if he 
understood it ; who acknowledged that he did, 
' Why then (said he), would you make him go back 
again? We have lost by this interruption above 
ten lines/ so covetous was this great man of time ! 
In summer he always rose from supper with day- 
light, and in winter as soon as it was dark ; and this 
rule he observed as strictly as if it had been a law 
of state. Such was his manner of life amidst the 
noise and hurry of the town, but in the country his 
whole time was devoted to study without intermis- 


sion, excepting only when he bathed. In this ex- 
ception I include no more than the time he was ac- 
tually in the bath ; for while he was rubbed and 
wiped, he was employed either in hearing some hook 
read to him, or in dictating himself. In his jour- 
neys he lost no time from his studies ; but his mind 
at those seasons being disengaged from all other bu- 
siness, applied itself wholly to that single pursuit. A 
secretary* (or short-hand writer) constantly attend- 
ed him in his chariot, who in winter wore a parti- 
cular sort of warm gloves, that the sharpness of the 
weather might not occasion any interruption to my 
uncle's studies ; and for the same reason, in Rome 
he was always carried in a chair. I remember he 
once reproved me for walking. l You might (said 
he) employ these hours to more advantage ;' for he 
thought every minute lost that was not given to 
study. By this extraordinary application he found 
time to compose the several treatises already men- 
tioned, besides 160 volumes which he left me by 
his will, consisting of a kind of commonplace, writ- 
ten on both sides, in a very small character, so that 
one might fairly reckon the number considerably 

* The words in the original, Notarius cum libro et pugil- 
laribus, denote a writer of short-hand; an art which the 
Romans carried to perfection, as appears from Martial : 

Currant verba licet, manus est velocius illis ; 

Nondum lingua suum, dextra peregit opus. 

Swift though the words, the pen still swifter sped ; 
The hand has finished ere the tongue has said. 

Epigram xiv. 208. 


more. I have heard him say, when he was comp- 
troller of the revenue in Spain, Lartius Licinius of- 
fered him 400,000 sesterces (about L< 3:200) for these 
manuscripts, and yet they were not then quite so 
numerous. When you reflect on the books he has 
read, and the volumes he has written, are you not 
inclined to suspect that he never was engaged in 
the affairs of the public, or the service of his prince 
On the other hand, when you are informed how in- 
defatigable he was in his studies, are you not dis- 
posed to wonder that he read and wrote no more ? 
For, on the one side, what obstacles would not the 
business of a court throw in his way ; and on the 
other, what is it that such intense application might 
not perform ?" * 

Such is a description of the habits and acquire- 
ments of this extraordinary person, recorded by one 
who, from daily and familiar intercourse, had the 
best opportunities of minute observation. It is to 
the same pen that we owe the account of his death, 
the particulars of which are better known than the 
circumstances of his private life. At the time of 
that melancholy event, Pliny the Naturalist was at 
Misenum, near Naples, in command of the Roman 
fleet, which was appointed to guard all the part of 
the Mediterranean comprehended between Italy, 
Gaul, Spain, and Africa. The letter containing 
these interesting details is addressed to the well 
known historian Tacitus, who, it appears, had ex- 
* Plinii Eoist. lib. iii. 5. 


pressed to the nephew a wish to he acquainted with 
the particulars of that catastrophe, that he might 
mention them in his writings. The narrative is not 
only intimately connected with the subject of this 
Memoir, but so curious in itself, as containing the 
relation, by an eye-witness, of the first great eruption 
of Mount Vesuvius on record, by which the cities of 
Herculaneum and Pompeii were destroyed, that we 
shall lay the entire epistle before the reader. 

" PLINY to TACITUS. Your request that I would 
send you an account of my uncle's death, in order 
to transmit a more exact relation of it to posterity, 
deserves my acknowledgments ; for if the circum- 
stances which occasioned this accident shall be ce- 
lebrated by your pen, the manner of his exit will be 
rendered for ever illustrious. Notwithstanding he 
perished by a misfortune, which as it involved at the 
same time a most beautiful country in ruins, and 
destroyed so many populous cities, seems to promise 
him an everlasting remembrance ; notwithstanding 
he has himself composed many works which will de- 
scend to latest times ; yet I am pers added the men- 
tioning of him in your immortal writings, will great- 
ly contribute to eternalize his name. Happy I es- 
teem those to be whom the gois have distinguished 
with the abilities either of performing such actions 
as are worthy of being related, or of relating them 
in a manner worthy of being read. But doubly 
happy are they who are blest with both these un- 
common endowments ; in the number of whom my 


uncle, as his own writings and your history will 
prove, may justly be ranked. - It is with extreme 
willingness, therefore, that I execute your commands ; 
and should indeed have claimed the task, if you had 
not enjoined it. He was at that time with the fleet 
under his command at Misenum. On the 24th of 
August, about one in the afternoon, my mother de- 
sired him to observe a cloud which appeared of a 
very unusual size and shape. He had just return- 
ed from enjoying the benefit of the sun ; and after 
bathing in cold water, and taking a slight repast, 
was retired to his study. He immediately rose and 
went out upon an eminence, from whence he might 
more distinctly view this singular phenomenon. It 
was not, at that distance, discernible from what 
mountain this cloud issued, but it was found after- 
wards to proceed from Mount Vesuvius. I cannot 
give you a more exact description of its figure than 
by comparing it to that of a pine tree, for it shot up a 
great height in the form of a tall trunk, which spread 
at the top into a sort of branches; the cause of which 
was, I imagine, either that the force of the sudden 
gust which impelled the cloud upwards had de- 
creased in strength as it advanced ; or that the cloud 
being pressed back by its own weight, expanded it- 
self in the manner I have mentioned. It appeared 
sometimes bright, and sometimes dark and spotted, 
just as it was either more or less impregnated with 
cinders. This uncommon appearance excited my 
uncle's philosophical curiosity, to take a nearer view 


of it. He accordingly ordered a light vessel to be 
prepared, and offered me the liberty, if I thought 
proper, to accompany him. I rather chose to conti- 
nue the employment in which I was engaged ; for it 
happened that he had given me a certain writing to 
copy. As he was going out of the house, he re- 
ceived a note from the commissary of marines at 
Retina, who were in the utmost alarm at the immi- 
nent danger which threatened them (for that villa 
was in the immediate neighbourhood, and there was 
no means of escape except by sea), imploring him to 
rescue them from their perilous situation. He ac- 
cordingly changed his original intention, and instead 
of gratifying his philosophical spirit, he resigned it 
to the more magnanimous principle of aiding the dis- 
tressed. With this view he ordered the gallies im- 
mediately to put to sea, and went himself on board, 
intending to assist not only Retina, but other villas 
which stood extremely thick on that beautiful and 
salubrious coast. Hastening, therefore, to the place 
from whence others had fled with the utmost terror, 
he steered his course direct to the point in danger; 
and with so much calmness and presence of mind, 
as to be able to make and dictate his observations 
upon the appearance and progress of that dreadful 
scene. He was now so near the mountain, that the 
cinders grew thicker and hotter as he approach- 
ed, together with calcined stones like pumice, 
and broken pieces of black burning rock. They 
were likewise in danger not only of being a-ground 


by the sudden retreat of the sea, but also from the 
vast fragments which rolled down the sides of the 
mountain, and obstructed all the shore. Here he 
stopped to consider whether he should return back, 
to which the pilot advising him, ' Fortune (said he) 
befriends the brave ; steer to Pomponianus.' That 
officer was then at Stabiae, a place separated by a 
gulf which the sea, after several inconsiderable wind- 
ings, forms upon that coast, and had already sent 
his baggage on board ; for though he was not at that 
time in actual danger, yet being within the view of 
it, and indeed extremely near, he had determined, if 
it should in the least increase, to put to sea as soon 
as the wind should change. It was favourable, how- 
ever, for carrying my uncle to Pomponianus, whom 
he found in the greatest consternation ; and embra- 
cing him with tenderness, he encouraged and exhort- 
ed him to keep up his spirits. The more to dissi- 
pate his fears, he ordered his servants, with an air 
of unconcern, to carry him to the baths ; and after 
having bathed, he sat down to supper with great, or 
at least (what is equally heroic) with all the appear- 
ance of cheerfulness ; whilst in the mean time the 
fire from Vesuvius flamed forth from several parts of 
the mountain with great violence, which the dark- 
ness of the night contributed to render still more vi- 
sible and awful. But my uncle, in order to calm 
the apprehensions of his friend, assured him it was 
only the conflagration of the villages which the coun- 
try people had abandoned. After this he retired to 



rest, and most certain it is he was so little discom- 
posed as to fall into a deep sleep ; for being corpu- 
lent, and breathing hard, the attendants in the anti- 
chamber actually heard him snore. The court which 
led to his apartment being now almost filled with 
stones and ashes, it would have been impossible for 
him, if he had continued there any longer, to have 
made his way out ; it was thought proper, therefore, 
to awaken him. He got up, and joined Pompom- 
anus and the rest of the company, who had not been 
sufficiently at ease to think of going to bed. They 
consulted together whether it would be most pru- 
dent to trust to the houses, which now shook and 
rocked from side to side with frequent and violent 
concussions, or flee to the open fields, where the cal- 
cined stones and cinders, though light indeed, yet 
fell in large showers, and threatened them with in- 
stant destruction. In this uncertainty they resolved 
for the fields, as the less dangerous situation, a re- 
solution which, while the rest of the company were 
driven into it by their fears, my uncle embraced up- 
on cool and deliberate consideration. 

They all then went out, having pillows tied on their 
heads with napkins ; and this was their sole defence 
against the storm of burning fragments that fell 
around them. It was now day-light every where 
else ; but there a deeper darkness prevailed than in 
the blackest night, which, however, was in some de- 
gree dissipated by torches and other lights of vari- 
ous kinds. They thought it expedient to go down 


further upon the shore, in order to observe if they 
might safely put out to sea ; but they found the 
waves still running extremely high and boisterous. 
Then my uncle having drank a draught or two of 
cold water, laid himself down upon a sail-cloth 
which was spread for him ; but immediately the 
flames, preceded by a strong smell of sulphur, dis- 
persed the rest of the company, and obliged him to 
rise. Scarcely had he raised himself up, with the 
assistance of two of his servants, when he instantly 
fell down dead ; suffocated, as I conjecture, by some 
gross and noxious vapour, having always had weak 
lungs, and being frequently subject to a difficulty in 
breathing. As soon as it was light again, which 
was not till the third day after this melancholy acci- 
dent, his body was found entire and without any 
marks of violence, exactly in the posture that he fell, 
and looking more like a man asleep than dead." 

" During all this time (continues the same writer 
in another epistle, adverting now to his own situa- 
tion), my mother and I were at Misenum. We Went 
out into a small court belonging to the house, which 
separated the sea from the buildings. As I was at 
that time but eighteen years of age, I know not 
whether I should call my behaviour in this danger- 
ous conjuncture courage or rashness ; but I took up 
Livy and amused myself in turning over that author, 
and even making extracts from him, as if all about 
me had been in full security. While we were in this 
situation, a friend of my uncle's, who was just come 


from Spain to pay him a visit, joined us ; and ob- 
serving me sitting by my mother with a book in my 
hand, greatly censured her patience, and at the 
same time reproved me for my careless security ; ne- 
vertheless I still went on with my author. Though 
it was now morning, the light was exceedingly 
faint and languid ; the buildings all around us tot- 
tered ; and though we stood upon open ground, yet 
as the place was narrow and confined, there was no 
remaining without great and certain danger ; we 
therefore resolved to quit the town. The people 
followed us in the utmost consternation ; and as to a 
mind distracted with terror every suggestion seems 
more prudent than its own, they pressed in vast 
crowds about us in our way out. Being got at a 
convenient distance from the buildings, we stood 
still in the midst of a most dangerous and dreadful 
scene. The chariots which we had ordered to be 
drawn out were so agitated backwards and forwards, 
though upon the most level ground, that we could 
not keep them steady, even by supporting them 
with large stones. The sea appeared to roll back 
upon itself, and to be driven from its banks by the 
convulsive motion of the earth ; it is certain, at least, 
the shore was considerably enlarged, and several sea 
animals were left upon it. On the other side, a 
black and dismal cloud bursting with an igneous ser- 
pentine vapour, darted out a long train of fire, re- 
sembling flashes of lightning, but much larger. Soon 
afterwards it seemed to descend and cover the whole 


ocean ; as indeed it entirely hid the island of Caprsea, 
and the promontory of Misenum. My mother con- 
jured me to make my escape at any rate, which as I 
was young I might easily effect. As for herself, she 
said her age and corpulence rendered all attempts of 
that sort impossible; however, she would willingly 
meet death if she could have the satisfaction of see- 
ing that she was not the occasion of mine. But I 
absolutely refused to leave her, and taking her by the 
hand I led her on ; while she complied with great 
reluctance, and not without many reproaches to her- 
self for retarding my flight. The ashes now began 
to fall upon us, though in no great quantity. I turn- 
ed my head and observed behind us a thick smoke, 
which came rolling after us like a torrent. 

We had scarcely stepped out of the path when 
darkness overspread us, not like that of a cloudy night, 
or when there is no moon, but as of a room when 
all the lights are extinct. Nothing was then to 
be heard but the shrieks of women, the screams of 
infants, and the cries of men ; some calling for their 
children, others for their parents, others for their 
husbands, and only distinguishing each other by their 
voices ; one lamenting his own fate, another that of 
his family ; some wishing to die from the very fear 
of dying ; some lifting their hands to the gods ; but 
the greater part imagining that the last and eternal 
night was come, which was to destroy both the gods 
and the world together. At length a glimmering 
light appeared, which we supposed to be rather the 


forerunner of an approaching burst of flames ( which 
it really was) than the return of day ; however, the 
fire fell at a distance from us. Here again we were 
immersed in thick darkness, and a heavy shower of 
ashes rained upon us, which we were obliged every 
now and then to shake off, otherwise we should 
have been crushed and buried in the heap. At last 
this frightful darkness was dissipated by degrees, like 
a cloud of smoke ; the real day returned, and even 
the sun appeared, though very faintly, and as when 
an eclipse is coming on. Every object that present- 
ed itself to our eyes (which were extremely weaken- 
ed) seemed changed, being covered over with white 
ashes, as with a deep snow. We returned to Mi- 
senum, where we refreshed ourselves as well as we 
could, and passed an anxious night betwixt hope 
and fear, though indeed with a much larger share of 
the latter, for the earth still continued to shake ; 
while several enthusiastic persons ran wildly among 
the people, throwing out temporary predictions, and 
making a kind of frantic sport of their own and their 
friends' wretched situation. But notwithstanding the 
danger we had passed, and that which still threaten- 
ed us, we had no thoughts of leaving Misenum till 
we should receive some accounts of my uncle." * 

A short time brought them tidings of the melan- 
choly event, as has been already narrated. The ne- 
phew inherited the estates and effects of his deceased 
relative, and appearing soon after at the bar in Rome, 

* Plinii Epist. lib. vi. 17, 20. 


he distinguished himself so much by his eloquence, 
that he and his friend Tacitus were reckoned the 
two greatest orators of their age. 

The death of the elder Pliny occurred on the 24th 
of August, in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and 
seventy-ninth of the Christian era ; and the date i 
remarkable as synchronizing the fatal eruption of the 
same mountain which happened during the present year 
(1834), with that which took place nearly eighteen 
centuries ago. * Of his moral character we have 

* Although that mentioned here is the first great erup- 
tion of Vesuvius on record, there is evidence of others hav- 
ing occurred at some more remote period. After this the 
mountain continued to burn for nearly a thousand years, 
the fire then appeared to become extinct ; but since the be- 
ginning of the sixteenth century, there have been eruptions 
at intervals, the most remarkable of which happened in 
1506 and 1783, which destroyed many towns and about 
40,000 people ; and in the month of August of the present 
year 1834, on the same day of the month on which Pliny 
perished, which is represented as one of the most terrific ever 
known. The following account of it, given in a private letter 
from Naples, dated August 30th, deserves a place as a se- 
quel to the interesting description of the younger Pliny. 

" What has been dreaded has at length come to pass in 
the most melancholy manner. For several weeks past the 
wells at Resina Ottajano, and other places at the foot of 
Vesuvius, were dry, which is an infallible sign of an ap- 
proaching eruption. On Sunday the 24th, a small opening 
was perceived in the middle of the mountain, out of which 
a very insignificant stream of lava flowed, in the direction 
of Bosco Tre Case, but it ran with considerable rapidity. 
At the same time a considerable noise and rustling were 
heard in the interior of the volcano, and towards the direc- 
tion of the hermits two or three other streams of lava broke 
forth, without, however, passing beyond the waste space 


but scanty materials for judging. He appears to 
have been as amiable and affectionate as he was 
learned and studious. Everywhere he expresses his 

about the crater, already rendered sterile by so many pre- 
vious streams of lava. On Monday, the 25th, the eruption 
appeared to have abated, but on the following day the scene 
changed in a sudden and terrible manner. Since the year 
1828, the inner part of the volcano had formed anew crater, 
which had gradually filled the vast chasm almost half a 
league in length, which was the consequence of the erup- 
tion of 1822, and at length rose above the old crater to the 
height of 200 feet, and was very perceptible from Naples. 
The little Vesuvius, as people called it, on the morning of 
the 2Gth, fell in with a most terrific noise, and in its place 
a thick black cloud, which, threatening danger, mounted 
aloft higher and higher, darkened the sun, and, with a pe- 
netrating fine shower of ashes, covered not only the imme- 
diate neighbourhood of the volcano, but even Naples and 
Pausilippo. The glowing lava, too, for which the vessel 
containing it had now become too small, sought and found 
an opening about the middle of the mountain, about three 
miles from the top. With indescribable fury the lava 
burst out of this new outlet, and in less than three hours 
had travelled more than six miles, and in its career had 
destroyed gardens, forests, and houses. On the 27th this 
avalanche of fire had attained the height of from 15 to 16 
feet ; its breadth was about half a mile. The country-house 
of Prince Ottajana, in which, on the same morning, an Eng- 
lish lady was drawing, was in the evening a formless ruin. 
The small village of San Giovanni, consisting of about 
eighty-six houses, exists no more. In Capo Secco Torcino, 
about 100 houses were destroyed by the fire. On the 28th 
the eruption had assumed a still more terrific character. 
The inhabitants of Scafati and Sarno expected every mo- 
ment that the terrible visitant would arrive at their gates. 
Six streams of lava threatened at one time Torre dell An- 
nunciato, Bosco Tre Case, and Bosco Reale. The terror 
was general, when on the 29th, the violence of the eruption 


love for justice his respect for virtue his detesta- 
tion of cruelty and baseness, of which he had seen 
such terrible examples, and his contempt for that 

abated, and to-day the alarmed inhabitants of Ottajano 
and Maura begin to breathe a little freely. The injury 
done to houses and land, about 300 moggie, is reckoned at 
L. 300,000. It is impossible to give you a complete idea of 
this sublime and terrific natural spectacle. As it was not 
attended by any danger to approach the lava during the 
last three evenings, not only the number of gentlefolks who 
went to see the threatened villages was great, including all 
that was distinguished of natives and foreigners in Naples, 
Sorrento, and Castellmare, but thousands of the peasants 
and citizens, with their wives and children, from all the 
neighbourhood, came and saw, and wondered at the pro- 
gress of the destruction. What a contrast between the ter- 
ror of the despairing inhabitants, who in a moment saw their 
whole property the only hope in future for their at least 
painful life irrecoverably lost ; and the wild and almost 
mocking, singing, and laughing, of the jackass drivers, and 
the rude merriment of some soldiers, who, not contented 
with the injury done by the eruption, proceeded with Van- 
dal rage to destroy what Vesuvius had spared. 

" SEPT. 6 The state of Vesuvius is not yet peaceful 
enough. Every day huge pillars of smoke arise from the 
middle of the crater, which generally disperse in light 
showers of ashes, and often are accompanied by very loud 
reports. The well known cicerone of Vesuvius, Salvatore, 
is of opinion that another eruption may be expected ; and 
persons are afraid that it will take place in the middle of 
the mountain, and direct the lava towards Portici. The 
lava, the destructive flow of which only stopped on the 1st, 
pressed forward to about a mile from Scafati, a small town 
on the river Sarno, and has almost cut off the communica- 
tion between Nola and Castellmare, having stopped only a 
few paces from the high road. Three hundred families 
have lost their homes and their vineyards, which promised 


unbridled luxury which had so deeply corrupted the 
taste and manners of his countrymen. In his reli- 
gious principles he was above the grovelling and 
puerile superstitions of his age ; but he was almost 
an atheist, or at least he acknowledged no other deity 
than the world ; and few philosophers have explained 
the system of Pantheism more in detail, and with 
greater spirit and energy than he has done, in the 
second book of his History. Notwithstanding his 
scepticism and his disbelief in the immortality of the 
soul, his morality, in so far as appears, was unim- 
peachable. The duties of a subject, a citizen, and a 
member of society, he seems to have discharged in 
a manner that well deserves to be imitated in more 
improved and enlightened times. But it is chiefly 
as a Naturalist that we must contemplate his charac- 
ter ; and though he has many faults and deficiencies, 
he has treasured up a vast store of curious infor- 
mation; the greater part of which, but for him, 

them a rich vintage, and all their property. Their loss is 

Another account adds: " The king and the ministers 
hastened to the seat of the catastrophe, to console the un- 
fortunate victims. The village of St Felix, where they first 
took repose, had already been abandoned. The lava soon 
poured down upon this place, and in the course of an hour 
houses, churches, and palaces, were all destroyed. Four 
villages, some detached houses, country villas, vines, beau- 
tiful groves, and gardens, which a few instants before pre- 
sented a magnificent spectacle, now resembled a sea of fire. 
Fifteen hundred houses, palaces, and other buildings, and 
2500 acres of cultivated land, have been destroyed by the 
fire. " 


must have been totally and irretrievably lost to the 

Nearly 400 years before Pliny wrote, Aristotle 
had collected and embodied into a systematic form, 
whatever information in science (for we speak here 
of that alone) the ancient world possessed ; but he 
did more, he greatly extended the boundaries of na- 
tural knowledge, by superadding to the labours of 
his predecessors many facts and observations of his 
own, from which he elicited general principles that 
served as the first foundation of that splendid super- 
structure, which, after a long interval, rose to such 
beauty and symmetry in its several compartments 
under the hands of Newton and Laplace, Linnseus 
and Jussieu, Buffon and Cuvier. The works of the 
Greek philosopher were early imported into Italy ; 
but the Roman government, both under the Repub- 
lic and the Emperors, was too much occupied in ex- 
tending and securing its conquests, to patronise or 
encourage physical studies. That the mere love of 
nature had attracted many to these delightful pur- 
suits, in the time that elapsed between Aristotle and 
Pliny, is well known from the excerpts which they 
furnished to others ; but their works have perished 
in the wreck of ages ; and the two great pillars of 
science already named, which mark the respective 
eras of Vespasian and Alexander the Great, stand 
forth in the wide field of antiquity like Baalbec 
and Tadmor in the desert in solitary grandeur; but, 
like these venerable ruins, too, dismantled and mu- 
tilated of their original proportions. 


The Natural History of Pliny, the last and most 
important of his writings, may justly he said to have 
introduced the second distinct epoch of physical 
knowledge, which remained nearly in the state where 
he left it for about 1500 years, without patronage 
or cultivation, until the night of barbarism passed 
away, and the restoration of letters awoke the dormant 
energies of the human intellect. This great work 
is the only one of his numerous perfornfances that 
has come down to us ; the titles given to Titus in 
the dedication, shew that it was concluded in the 78th 
year of Christianity, that is, only one year before the 
author's death. To gather the materials for it must evi- 
dently have occupied the better part of his life ; since, 
according to his own statement, it contains extracts 
from more than two thousand volumes, written by au- 
thors of every description, travellers, historians, geo- 
graphers, philosophers, physicians, and others ; with 
many of whom we only become acquainted in the pages 
of Pliny. This immense magazine of information well 
deserves to be denominated the Encyclopaedia of the 
ancients ; it is certainly the most curious and extra- 
ordinary work which the Roman literature ever pro- 
duced, and may be considered as the depository of 
all that was known in science and the arts from the 
earliest ages of the human race. There is scarcely 
a discovery or an invention, a department of nature, 
or a region of the earth, with which antiquity was ac- 
quainted, that it does not comprehend. It is not 
only a valuable storehouse of intelligence but a 


splendid monument of astonishing industry, in a man 
whose time was so much occupied in the service of 
his country. In order fully to appreciate its merits 
and importance, we shall direct the reader's attention, 
1st, To its style ; 2d, To its plan ; 3d, To its facts. 
The best judges of Latinity have uniformly pass- 
ed the highest eulogium on Pliny as a classical 
writer ; perhaps the most worthy of that epithet of 
any that flourished after the age of Augustus. It 
has been justly remarked, that had his writings perish- 
ed, it would have been impossible to restore the lan- 
guage of Virgil and Tacitus ; and this remark must 
be understood, not only with respect to words, but 
also their various acceptations and shades of mean- 
ing when combined into sentences. Every author 
is, more or less, the artisan of his own style ; and 
hence the variety that exists among writers of the 
same country, and on the same subject. The very 
circumstance of being obliged to amass that prodi- 
gious variety of terms and forms of expression, which 
the abundance of his materials rendered necessary, 
has made Pliny's History one of the richest depots of 
the Roman tongue. It is observable also, that where- 
ever he can indulge in general ideas or philosophic 
views, his language assumes a tone of energy and 
vivacity, and his thoughts somewhat of unexpect- 
ed boldness, which tends to relieve the dryness of 
scientific enumerations. At the same time, it can- 
not be denied that he is too fond of seeking for points 
and antitheses ; that he is occasionally harsh ; and that 


in many places his diction is marked by an obscurity 
which arises less from the subject than from a desire 
of appearing sententious and condensed. 

As to his general plan, Pliny is wonderfully regu- 
lar and methodical, considering the enormous number 
and diversity of topics which his work embraces. It 
was not merely a Natural History that he undertook 
to compose, in the restricted sense in which we em- 
ploy the phrase at the present day ; that is, a treatise 
more or less detailed, respecting animals, plants, and 
minerals ; his project was far more comprehensive, 
including astronomy, geography, physics, agricul- 
ture, commerce, medicine, and the arts, as well as 
natural science properly so called. Moreover, he 
continually mingles with his remarks on these sub- 
jects a variety of observations relative to the moral 
constitution of man, and the history of nations. 

The work is divided into thirty-seven books, and 
is dedicated, as already mentioned, to Vespasian ; 
although some French writers have supposed, from 
the change of style and other internal evidence, 
that the dedication was not written by Pliny. The 
first book gives merely a kind of summary or table 
of contents, and the names of the authors who are 
to supply him with facts and materials. The second 
book treats of the universe ; the form, figure, and 
motions of the heavens ; the seven planets, in the 
midst of which moves the sun, the ruler of all things ; 
the four elements, fire, air, earth, and water ; the 
nature of the fixed stars ; eclipses of the sun arid 


moon ; thunder, comets, meteors, lightning, winds, 
clouds, earthquakes, hail, frost, snow, mist, dew, 
tides, and various other particulars concerning the 
phenomena of the terraqueous globe. The world 
and the heavens are represented to he infinite, with- 
out beginning and without end ; the form of the lat- 
ter is spherical, the motion circular, and they are im- 
pressed with innumerable forms of animals and other 
objects. To assign to the Deity any particular 
shape, image, or existence distinct from the universe, 
or to imagine that he should exercise a superintend- 
ing providence over the human race, Pliny reckons 
absurd, seeing God is himself all in all, and must ne- 
cessarily be polluted by interfering in the affairs of 
men who are prone to wickedness, and addicted to 
the most grovelling superstitions. He admits, how- 
ever, that it is beneficial to believe that the gods take 
care of good men and punish malefactors. " In sum 
(adds Dr Philemon Holland) there be in this booke 
of histories, notable matters, and worthy obserua- 
tions, foure hundred and eighteene in number ;" 
amongst which he reckons " flames and learns seen 
in the skie ; monstrous and prodigious showres of 
raine, namely of milke, bloud, flesh, yron, wooll, 
bricke, and tyle ; the rattling of harnesse and armour, 
also the sound of trumpets heard from heauen." 

The four next books treat of geography, comprising 
a description of the then known world ; its seas, rivers, 
islands, mountains towns, nations, &c. from Spain 


to India, and from Mauritania and Ethiopia m Af- 
rica, to Scythia and the Cimbric Chersonese. 

The seventh book is devoted to an account of the 
various races and u wonderful! shapes of men in 
diuerse countries," including monsters, prodigies, 
ghosts, great characters, notable inventions, longe- 
vity, strength, swiftness, wit, valour, and other mat- 
ters relating to the human species. " In summe (says 
the authority already quoted) there be in this booke, 
strange accidents and matters memorable, 747." 
Of these " matters memorable" Pliny has collected 
a tolerable stock from Grecian and other travellers, 
most of them bordering on the marvellous, and only 
fitted to excite a smile at the credulity of those who 
could affirm or relate them. " Certes reported it is, 
(says he), that far within the country of Ethyopia, 
eastward, there are a kinde of people without any 
nose at all on their face, hauing their visage all plain 
and flat. Others again, without any upper lip, and 
some tonguelesse. Moreover, there is a kinde of 
them that want a mouth, framed apart from their 
nosthrills, and at one and the same hole, and no more, 
taketh in breath, receiueth drinke by drawing it in 
with an oaten straw ; yea, and after the same man- 
ner feed themselves with the grains of oats." 

He then proceeds to give examples of cannibals, 
hermaphrodites, androgyni, and other wonderful 
shapes in different regions of the world. Among the 
Scythians, he places the Arimaspians, " who are 
knowne by this marke, for having one eie only in 


the mids of their forehead.'' The Anthropophagi, 
" sauage and wild men, liuing and conuersing vsually 
with the bruit beastes, who have their feet growing 
backward, and turned behind the calues of their legs ; 
howbeit they run most swiftly ; they are vsed to 
drinke out of the skuls of men's heads, and to weare 
the scalpes, hair and all, instead of mandellions or 
stomachers before their hearts. In Albanie, there 
be a sort of people borne with eies like owles, where- 
of the sight is fire red, who, from their childhood, 
are grey-headed, and can see better by night than 
day. In Africke, as some doe auouch, there be cer- 
taine houses and families of scorcerers, who, if they 
chance to blesse, praise, and speak good words, be- 
witch presently withal, insamuch as sheep therewith 
die, trees wither, and infants pine and winder away. 
Such like there be also among the Triballians, Illyrians, 
Thibians, and many others besides, who have the same 
quality, and doe the like ; and known they are by 
these markes, in one of their eies they have two 
sights, in the other the print or resemblance of an 
horse. Not far from Rome city there be some few 
houses and families called Hirpige, which, at their 
solemne yearly sacrifice, in honour of Apollo, vpon 
the mount Soracte, walke upon the pile of wood as 
it is on fire, in great iollity, and neuer a whit are 
burnt withall. Some men there be, that haue cer- 
taine members and parts of their bodies naturally 
working strange and miraculous effects, and in some 
cases medicinable ; as, for example, king Pyrhus P 



whose great toe of his right foot was good for them 
that had big swelled or indurate spleenes, if he did 
hut touch the parties diseased with that toe. Vpon 
a certaine mountain in India, named Mill us, there 
he men whose feet grow the tother way backward, 
and on either foot they haue eight toes, as Megas- 
thenes doth report. And in many other hills of that 
country, there is a kinde of men with heads like dogs, 
clad all ouer with skins of wild beasts, who, in lieu 
of speech, vse to bark ; armed they are, and well ap- 
pointed with sharp and trenchant nailes. There be 
women who beare but once in their life, and their 
infants presently waxe grey so soon as borne into the 
world. Also, there be a kinde of people named 
Monoscelli, that haue but one leg apiece, but they are 
most nimble, and hop wondrous swiftly ; the same 
men are likewise called Sciopodes, for that, in hotest 
season of the summer, they ly along on their back, 
and defend themselves with their feet against the 
sun's heate. Againe, beyond these westward, some 
there be without heads standing vpon their neckes, 
who cary eies in their shoulders. In the southern 
parts, the men kind haue feet a cubit long, but the 
women so short and smal, that therevpon they be 
called Struthopodes, i. e. sparrow-footed. The Cho- 
romandse are a sauage and wild people, distinct voice 
and speech they haue none, but instead thereof, they 
keep an horrible gnashing and hideous noise ; rough 
they are, and hairy all ouer their bodies ; eies 
they haue, red like the houlet, and toothed they be 


like dogges. Eastward about the sources of the 
river Ganges, there is a nation called the Astomes, 
for that they haue no mouthes; no meat nor drinke 
they take, but Hue only by the aire, and smelling of 
sweet odours, which they draw in at their nostrills. 
Higher up above these, the Pygmsei are reported to be; 
called they are so, for that they are but a cubit high, 
that is to say, three times nine inches; and these prety 
people Homer hath reported to be much troubled 
and anoied by cranes. The speech goeth, that in 
spring time they set out all of them in battell aray, 
mounted vpon the backe of rammes and goats, 
armed with bowes and arrowes, and so downe to the 
sea-side they march, where they make foule worke 
among the egges and young cranelings newly hatched, 
which they destroy without all pitty. Thus, for three 
months their journey and expedition contineueth, 
and then they make an end of their valiant seruice." 
After relating various other prodigies of men eight 
cubits high, others without shadows, some " without 
vermine in their heads or cloths, because they feed 
on viper's flesh ; and others with long shagged tailes, 
most swift in footmariship, whose eares covered their 
whole body ;" he thus winds up his catalogue of hu- 
man monstrosities : " See how Nature is disposed for 
the nons to diuise full wittily in this and such like pas- 
times to play with mankinde, thereby not only to make 
herself merry, but set vs a wondering at such strange 
miracles." We shall pass by his specimens of mon- 
strous births, hippocentaurs, twins, triplets, change- 


lings, &C M with the influence of the moon on " vn- 
timely trauells," and conclude with his philosophi- 
cal reflections on man. The following are the re- 
marks which suggest themselves to him on a re- 
view of the whole subject. " I am abashed much, 
and very sory to thinke and consider what a poore 
and ticklish beginning man hath, the proudest crea- 
ture of all others, when the smell only of the snuffe 
of a candle put out, is the cause ofttimes that he pe- 
rishe in the wombe ; and yet, see these great tyrants, 
and such as delight only in carnage and bloudshed, 
haue no better origina), Thou, then, that presumest 
vpon thy bodily strength, thou that standest so much 
vpon fortune's fauours, and hast thy hands full of 
her bountifull gifts ; thou, I say, that busiest thy head 
euermore, and settest thy minde vpon conquests and 
victories; thou that art, vpon euerie good successe 
and gale of prosperity, puffed up with pride, and 
takest thyself for a god, neuer thinkest that thy life, 
when it was hung vpon so single a thred, with so 
small a matter might haue miscarried. Nay more, 
euen at this day thou art in more danger than so, 
if thou chance to be but stung or bitten with the 
little tooth of a serpent ; or if but the very kernell of 
a raisin goe downe thy throat wrong, as it did with 
the poet Anacreon ; or, as Fabius, a senator of Rome, 
ventured to swallow a small haire, which strangled 
him. Of all other creatures, Nature hath brought 
forth man bare, and cloathed him with the good and 
riches of others. To all the rest she hath giuen suf- 


ficient to clad them, euery one according to their 
kind ; as, namely, shells, pods, prickes, hard hides, 
shag, hrislles, haire, downe, feathers, quills, skales, 
and fleeces of wooll. Man alone, poore wretch, she 
hath layed all naked upon the hare earth, euen on 
his birth day, to cry and vvraul presently from the 
very first houre that hee is home, in such sort, as 
among so many liuing creatures there is none sub- 
ject to shed tears and weepe like him ; and verilie to 
no babe or infant it is giuen to laugh till he bee four- 
ty daies old, and that is counted very early. O folly 
of all follies euer to thinke (considering this simple 
beginning of ours) that we were sent into this world 
to Hue in pride, and carie our heads aloft ! The first 
hope that we conceiue of our strength, the first gift 
that time affordeth vs, maketh vs no better than 
four-footed beasts." Some of the examples of handi- 
craft mentioned by Pliny, are curious, as shewing 
the great perfection to which the manual arts had 
then arrived in Rome. " Cicero hath recorded that 
the whole poeme of Homer, called Ilias, was written 
on a piece of parchment, which was able to be crush- 
ed within a nut-shell. Callicrates vsed to make pis- 
mires, arid other such like little creatures, out of yvo- 
rle, so artificially, that other men could not discerne 
the partg of their body one from another. There was 
one Myrmecides, excellent in that kinde of work- 
manship, who, of the same matter, wrought a cha- 
riot with foure wheels, and as many steeds, in so little 
roome, that a silly flie might couer all with her 


wings. Also, he made a ship with all the tackling 
to it, no bigger than a bee might hide it with her 

The eighth book discusses land animals ; con- 
taining notices, or rather anecdotes, of elephants, dra- 
gons, lions, panthers, tigers, cameleopards, unicorns, 
wolves, hyaenas, ounces, crocodiles, the river-horse, 
the rhinoceros, deer, horses, apes, mules, oxen, sheep, 
goats, swine, hares, rabbits, apes, monkeys, serpents, 
lizards, squirrels, urchins, badgers, rats, and mice. 
Many wonderful stories are told of the elephant, the 
lion, the wolf, &c. and the combats of these ferocious 
animals which the emperors, consuls, and generals, 
exhibited at Rome for the amusement of the people ; 
but the scientific reader will look in vain for any 
thing like classification or methodical arrangement, 
(that indeed was not Pliny's object,) except that he 
has begun with the largest, and ends with the small- 
er genera. Of elephants, lions, and wolves, some cu- 
rious particulars are related. The following is a short 
. extract from the chapter on " Dogges." " Among 
those domesticall creatures that conuerse with vs, 
there be many things worth the knowledge, and 
namely, as touching dogges, the most faithfull and 
trustye companions of all others to man. And in 
verie truth, I have heard it credibly reported of a 
dogge that, in defence of his master, fought hard 
against theeues robbing by the highway side; and al- 
beit he was sorre wounded, even to death, yet would 
he not abandon the dead body of his master, but 


driue away both wild foule and sauage beaste from 
seizing on his carkasse. There was a king of the 
Garamants exiled, and recouered his royal state 
againe, by the means of 200 dogges, that fought for 
him against al those who made resistance, and brought 
him home maugre his enemies. The Colophonians 
and Castabalians maintained certaine squadrons of 
mastiue dogges for their war seruice, and those were 
put in the vanguard, to make the head and front of 
the battell, and were neuer knowne to draw back 
and refuse fight. These were their trustiest auxi- 
laries, and aid soldiers, and neuer so greedy as to 
call for pay. In a battell, when the Cimbrians were 
defeated, and put all to the sword, their dogges de- 
fended the baggage, yea, and their houses, (such as 
they were,) caried ordinarily vpon chariots. Jason, 
the Lycian,'had a dogge, who, after his master was 
slain, would neuer eat meat, but pined himself to 
death. Duris maketh mention of another dogge, 
which he named Hircanus, that so soon as the fu- 
nerall fire of king Lysimachus, his master, was set 
a burning, leapt into the flame ; and so did another at 
the funerall of king Hiero. But this passeth al, which 
happened in our time, and standeth vpon record in 
the publicke Registers, namely, in the yeare that Ap- 
pius Junius and P. Silus were consuls ; at which 
time as T. Sabinus and his seruants were executed 
for an outrage committed vpon the person of Nero, 
sonne of Germanicus: one of them that died had 
a dogge, which could not be kept from the prison 


dore, and when his master was throwne downe the 
staires, (called Scalae Gemonise,) would not depart 
from his dead corps, but kept a most pitteous howl- 
ing and lamentation about it, in the sight of a great 
multitude of Romanes that stood round about to see 
the execution ; and when one of the companie threw 
the dogge a piece of meat, he straight waies caried it 
to the mouth of his master lying dead. Moreouer, 
when the carkasse was throwne into the river Ti- 
beris, the same dogge swam after, and made all the 
mean he could to bear it up aflote, that it should not 
sink ; and to the sight of this spectacle, and fidelitie 
of the poore dogge to his master, a number of people 
ran forth by heapes from the citie to the water side. 
Certes, the longer we Hue, the more things we ob- 
serue and marke still in these dogges. As for hunt- 
ing, there is not a beast so subtle, so quick, and so 
fine of scent, as is the hound ; he hunteth and follow- 
eth the beaste by the foot, training the hunter that 
leads him by the coller and leash, to the very place 
where the beaste lieth. Hauing once gotten an eie 
of his game, how silent and secret are they notwith 
standing ; and yet how significant is their discouerie 
of .the beaste vnto the hunter, first with wagging 
their taile, and afterwards with their nose and snout 
as they doe ; and therefore it is no maruell if, when 
hounds or beagles be ouer old, wearie and blinde, men 
carie them in their armes to hunt, for to wind the 
beaste, and by the very scent of the nose to shew and 
declare where the beaste is at harbour. To prevent 


that dogges fall not mad, it is good, for thirtie or fbr- 
tie daies space, to mingle hens or pullins dung espe- 
cially with their meate ; againe, if they be growing 
into that rage, or tainted already, to give them el- 
lebor with their meat. Columella writeth, that when 
a whelpe is just fortie daies old, if his taile be bitten 
off at the nethermost joint, and the sinew or string 
that remaineth after be likewise taken away, neither 
the taile will grow any more, nor the dogge fall euer 
to be mad." 

The ninth book treats of fishes and water animals ; 
containing " stories, notable things, and obseruations, 
to the number of 650, collected." Whales, dolphins, 
tortoises, seals, mullets, salmon, lampreys, eels, crabs, 
wilks, cockles, the murex, and other shell-fish, are 
jumbled together in the same class with tritons, mer- 
maids, nereides, and other fabulous creatures. The 
only attempt at definite order is founded on the co- 
vering or skin ; some, as seals and hippopotami, 
having hide and hair ; others skin only, as the dol- 
phins ; tortoises are covered with a substance resem- 
bling bark ; oysters and other shell- fish with a sub- 
stance as hard as flint ; echini with crusts and 
prickles ; fishes with scales ; sharks with a rough 
skin fit for polishing wood ; lampreys with a soft 
Bkin ; and polypi with none at all. The most inte- 
resting portion of this book is that which treats of 
the pearl oyster, the murex, buccinum, &c., which 
supplied the Romans with their celebrated purple 
dye. " That beautifull colour, so much in request 


for dyeing of fine cloth, the purple fishes haue in 
the midst of the neck and javves. And nothing else 
it is but a little thin liquor with a white veine ; and 
that is it which maketh that rich fresh and bright 
colour of deepe red purple roses. As for all the rest 
of this fish it yeeldeth nothing. Fishers striue to get 
them aliue ; for when they die they cast vp and shed 
that precious teinture and juice together with their 
life. Now the Tyrians, when they light vpon any 
great purples, they take the flesh out of their shels, 
for to get the bloud out of the said veine ; but the 
lesser they presse and grind in certaine milles, and 
so gather that rich humor which issueth from them. 
The best purple colour in Asia is thus gotten 
at Tyros ; but in Africke, within the island Me- 
ninx, and the coast of the ocean by Getulia; and 
in Europe that of Laconica. This is that glorious 
colour so full of state and maiestie, that the Roman 
lictors, with their rods, halbards, and axes, make 
way for ; this is it that graceth and setteth out the 
children of princes and noblemen ; this maketh the 
distinction between a knight and a counsellor of 
state ; this is called for and put on when they offer 
sacrifice to pacific the gods ; this giueth a lustre to 
all sorts of garments ; to conclude, our great gene- 
rals in the field, and victorious captains in their tri- 
umphs, wear this purple in their mantels, enterlaced 
and embrodered with gold among. No maruell, 
therefore, if purple be so much sought for ; and men 
are to be held excused if they run a madding after 


purples. The best time to fish purples is after the 
dog -star is risen, and before the spring ; for when 
they haue made that viscous mucilage in manner of 
wax (which they doe by rubbing one against an- 
other), there iuice or humor for colour is ouer liquid, 
thin, and waterish. And yet the purple-diera know 
not so much, nor take heed thereof ; whereas indeed 
the skill thereof is a speciall point of their art, arid 
wherein lieth all in all. Well, when they are caught, 
as is abouesaid, they take forth that veine before 
mentioned, and they lay it in salt, or else they do 
not well ; with this proportion ordinarily, viz. to euery 
hundred weight of the purple liquor, a sestier, or pint 
and halfe of salt. Full three daies and no more it 
must thus lie soking in powder; for the fresher that 
the colour is, so much is it counted richer and better. 
This don, they seethe it in leads, and to euery am- 
phore (which containeth about eight wine-gallons) 
they put one hundred pounds and a halfe just of the 
coloure so prepared. Boile it ought with a soft and 
gentle fire ; and therefore the tunnel or mouth of 
the furnace must be a good way off the lead or 
chawdron ; during which time the workemen that tend 
the lead must eftsoones skim oft' and dense away 
the fleshie substance which cannot chuse but stick 
to the veines which containeth the iuice of purple 
beforesaid. And thus they continue ten days ; by 
which time ordinarily the lead or vessell will shew 
the liquor cleene, as if it were sufficiently boiled. 
And to make a triall thereof, they dip into it a fleece 


of wool, wel rensed and washt out of one water into 
another ; and till such time as they see it give a per- 
fect dye, they stil ply the fire and giue it a higher 
seething. That which staineth red is nothing so rich 
as that which giueth the deep and sad hlackish color. 
When it is come to the perfection, they let the wooll 
lie to take the liquor five houres ; then they haue it 
forth, touse and card it, and put it in again, vntii it 
hath drunke up all the color as much as it will." 

The tenth hook treats of " Foules and Flying Crea- 
tures, and hath in it of notable matters, histories, and 
obseruations, 904." It begins with the larger species, 
the ostrich, the phomix, eagles, vultures, hawks, fal- 
cons, kites, ravens, peacocks, swans, storks, geese, 
and other domestic fowls ; and concludes with re- 
marks on the generation, food, drink, diseases, Sac. 
of animals. In his history of birds Pliny is extreme- 
ly meagre and confused ; but he has related a num- 
ber of strange and amusing particulars, such as were 
current in his time. He believes, on the assertion 
of others, that the spinal marrow of a man may turn 
into a snake ; that salamanders, eels, and oysters, are 
neither male nor female ; and that young vipers eat 
their way through the sides of the dam. One or two 
examples we shall select ; and first of the common 
cock, the description of which would have done no 
discredit to Buffon. " These birds (says he) which 
are our sentinels by night, and whom Nature hath 
created to brecke men of their sleepe, to awaken 
and call them vp to their work, haue also a sence 


and vnderstanding of glorie ; they loue to be praised, 
and are proud in their kind. Moreouer, they are 
astronomers, and know the course of the stars ; they 
diuide the day by their crowing, from three houres 
to three houres ; when the sun goeth to rest, they 
go to roust, and like sentinels they keepe the reliefe 
of the fourth watch in the camp ; they will not suf- 
fer the sun to rise and steale upon us, but they giue 
us warning of it ; and they foretell their crowing 
likewise by clapping their sides with their wings. 
They are commanders and rulers of their own kind, 
be they hens or other cocks ; and in what house so- 
euer they be, they will be masters and kings ouer 
them. This soueraignty is gotten by plain fight one 
with another, as if they knew that naturally they 
had spurs, as weapons, given them about their heeles 
to try the quarrell ; and many times the combat is so 
sharp and hot, that they kill one another ere they 
giue ouer. But if one of them happen to be con- 
queror, presently vpon his victorie he croweth and 
himselfe soundeth the triumph. He that is beaten 
makes no words, nor croweth at all, but hideth his 
head in silence ; and yet neuerthelesse it goeth 
against his stomacke to yeeld the gantlet and give 
the bucklers. And not only these cocks of game, 
but the very common sort of the dunghill, are as 
proud and highminded ; ye shal see them to mount 
stately, carying their neck bolt vpright, with a 
combe on their head like the crest of a soldier's heV- 
met. And there is not a bird besides himself that 


so oft looketh aloft to the sun and sky; and then vp 
goeth the taile and all, which he beares on high, turn- 
ing backward again on the top like a hook. And 
hereupon it is, that marching thus proudly as they 
doe, the very lions (the most courageous of all wilde 
beasts) stand in fear and awe of them, and will not 
abide the sight of them." The best breed, in the 
days of Pliny, were from Rhodes, Tenagra, Melos, 
and Chalcis. It is recorded of a dunghil cock be- 
longing to one Galerius, that it spoke ; and at Per- 
gamus a solemn cock fight took place every year in 
presence of the people. " Vnto these birds (he con- 
tinues, alluding to the superstitions of augury) the 
purple robe at Rome and all magistrates of state dis- 
dain not to giue honour. They rule our great rulers 
euery day ; and there is not a mighty lord or state 
of Rome that dare open or shut the dore of his house, 
before he knows the good pleasure of these fowles ; 
and what is more, the soueraigne magistrat in his 
majestie of the Roman empire, with the royal en- 
signes of rods and axes caried before him, neither 
sets forward nor reculeth backe without direction 
from these birds. They giue orders to whole armies 
to advance forth to battle, and again command them 
to stay and keep within the camp. These were 
they that gaue the signall and fortold the issue of 
all those famous foughten fields, whereby we haue at- 
chieued all our victories throughout the whole world." 
The account of the nightingale is also highly 
entertaining, but we must pass it over to make room 


for a few words on the partridge, one of the few 
game birds noticed by Pliny. " They cotier their egs 
with a soft carpet or hilling as it were of fine dust ; 
neither doe they sit where they layed them first, nor 
yet in a place which they suspect to be much fre- 
quented with resort of passengers, but conuey them 
to some other place. The males are so quarrellsome, 
that oftentimes they are taken by that meanes ; for 
when the fouler cometh with his pipe or call (resem- 
bling the female) to allure and traine them forth, out 
goeth the captaine of the whole flocke directly against 
him ; and when he is caught another followeth after, 
and so the rest one after another. In like manner 
the fouler vses to take the females, at what time as 
they seek the male, allured by the chanterell or watch 
which calleth them out. Also if he chance to ap- 
proch the nest of the brood hen, she will run forth 
and lie about his feet ; she wil counterfeit that she 
is very heauy, and cannot scarce go, that she is weak 
and enfeeblished ; and either in her running, or short 
flight that she taketh, she will catch a fall and make 
semblance as if she had broken a leg or a wing. 
Then will she run out again another way, and when 
he is ready to take her vp, yet will she shift away 
and escape. And all this doth shee to amuse the 
fouler after her, vntill she have trained him a con- 
trary way from the couey. Now by the time that 
she is past that feare, and freed of the motherly care 
she had of her yong ones, then will shee get into 
the furrow of some land, lie along on her back, catch 


a clot of earth vp with her feet, and therewith hide 
her whole body, and so saue both herself and her 
couey. To conclude, partridges (by report) live six- 
teene yeeres." 

Of birds that have the faculty of articulation, Pliny 
mentions one called Taurus, because it lowed like an 
ox ; and another which could imitate the neighing of 
a horse. " But aboue all other birds of the aire, the 
parrats passe for counterfeiting a man's voice, inso- 
much as they will seeme to parle and prate our very 
speech. This foule cometh out of the Indies, where 
they call it sittace. It is all the body ouer greene, 
onely it hath a collar about the necke of vermillion 
red, different from the rest of her feathers. The 
parrat can skil to salute emperors, and bid good mor- 
row ; yea, and to pronounce what words she heareth. 
She loueth wine well, and when she hath dranke 
freely is very pleasant, plaifull, and wanton. She hath 
an head as hard as is her beak ; when she lernes to 
speak shee must be beaten about the head with a 
rod of yron, for otherwise she careth for no blowes. 
When she taketh her flight downe from any place, 
she lighteth vpon her bill, and resteth thereupon ; and 
by that meanes favoureth her feet, which by nature 
are weak and feeble. There is a certain pie, but of 
nothing so great reckoning and account as the par- 
rat, because shee is not far set, but hereby neere at 
hand ; howbeit, she pronounces that which is taught 
her more plainly and distinctly than the other. These 
take a loue to the words that they speak ; for they 


not only learn them as a lesson, but they learn them 
with a delight and pleasure, insomuch that a man 
shall find them studying thereupon and conning the 
said lesson. It is said that none of their kinde are 
good to bee made scholars, but such only as feed vp- 
on mast, and among them those that have five toes 
to their feet, and two yeeres of age. And their 
tongue is broader than ordinarie, like as they bee all 
that counterfeit man's voice, each one in their kinde. 
Agripina the empresse, wife to Claudius Caesar, 
had a black birde, or throstle, at what time as I com- 
piled this book, who could counterfeit man's speech, 
a thing never seen nor known before. The two 
Ceesars, also, the young princes (Germanicus and 
Drusus), had one stare and sundry nightingales 
taught to parle Greeke and Latine. Moreouer, they 
would study vpon their lessons, and meditate all day 
long, and from day to day come out with new words 
still ; yea, and were able to continue a long discourse." 
We shall close our ornithological extracts with 
an anecdote of " the wit and vnderstanding" of a 
raven, which attracted the notice and became a spe- 
cial favourite of the Roman people. " In the daies 
of Tiberius there was a young rauen hatched in a 
nest vpon the church of Castor and Pollux, which to 
make a triall how he could flie, took his first flight 
into a shoemaker's shop, just over against the said 
church. The master of the shop was well enough 
content to receiue this bird, as commended to him 
from so sacred a place, and in that regard set great 



store by it. This rauen in a short time being ac- 
quainted to man's speech, began to speak, and euery 
morning would fly vp to the top of the rostra, or pub- 
lic pulpit for orations, where, turning to the open 
forum and market place, he would salute and bid 
good morrow to Tiberius Caesar, and, after him, to 
Germanicus and Drusus, the yong princes, euery 
one by their names ; and anon the people of Rome 
also that passed by. And when he had so don, 
afterwards would flie again to the shoomakerVshop 
aforesaid. This duty practised, yea, and continued 
for many yeeres together, to the great wonder and 
admiration of all men. Now it fell out so that an- 
other shoemaker who had taken the shop next vnto 
him, either vpon a malicious enuie, or some sudden 
spleene and passion of choler, for that the rauen 
chanced to meut a little, and set some spot vpon a 
paire of his shoos, killed the said rauen. Whereat 
the people tooke such indignation, that they, rising 
in an uprore, first drove him out of that street, and 
made that quarter of the city too hot for him, and 
not long after murdered him for it. But contrarie- 
wise, the carkasse of the dead rauen was solemnly 
enterred, and thefunerall performed with all ceremo- 
nial obsequies that could be deuised ; for the corps 
of this bird was bestowed in a coffin, and the same 
bedecked with chaplets and garlands of rich flowers 
of all sorts, and carried vpon the shoulders of two 
blacke Mores, with minstrels before sounding the 
Haut-boies, and playing on the fife as far as to the 


funerall fire, two miles without the city, in a certain 
open field called Rediculi." 

The eleventh book treats of Insects in general ; 
bees, wasps, silkworms, spiders, scorpions, grass- 
hoppers, beetles, locusts, ants, moths, and gnats. It 
contains also an anatomical description of the human 
body, and of various parts of animals, which, though 
not remarkable for accuracy, is nevertheless inte- 
resting to the student. 

The next seventeen books are devoted to Botany, 
and give an account of trees, shrubs, and plants ; 
their cultivation and uses in domestic economy and 
the arts ; and the remedies that are obtained from 
them. The products of India and Arabia incense, 
spices, gums, oils, perfumes, &c. ; timber-trees, fruit- 
trees, the sugar-cane, the vine, and the different kinds 
of wine used by the ancients ; agriculture, horticul- 
ture, the rearing of flowers, pot-herbs and vegeta- 
bles of all sorts ; together with their natural proper- 
ties and medicinal virtues, are described at great 
length. These curious subjects form the most ex- 
tensive portion of Pliny's writings ; but they are dis- 
cussed in so irregular and unscientific a manner, that 
it is impossible, in most cases, to determine the spe- 
cies of which he speaks ; and as to the cures alleged 
to be accomplished by means of herbs, they are bet- 
ter suited to the rude pharmacy of the Romans, 
than to the advanced state of medicine in our day. 

The twenty-eighth book treats of Dietetics ; reme- 
dies derived from various animals ; and the nature 


of certain diseases, such as gout, stone, dropsy 
" spots and wems on the visage, and for those tnat 
bee blasted or strucken with a planet ;" how to pre- 
serve and recover the hair, to make the breath sweet, 
to remove moles and carbuncles, staunch blood, and 
allay swellings. These subjects are continued to the 
end of the thirty-second book, and give occasion to 
the discussion of numerous topics, such as magic or 
the black science, the origin of the art and practice 
of physic, the nature of water salt and fresh, besides 
" receits of medicines, taken from water-creatures* 
digested and set in order, according to sundry dis- 

The last five books are occupied in describing 
metals, mining, earth, stones ; and the employment 
of the latter for the purposes of life, the use of the 
arts, and the demands of luxury. Under the head 
of colours, mention is made of the most celebrated 
paintings ; whilst the articles of stones and marbles 
include the most valuable gems and the finest pieces 
of statuary. The descriptions of some of the pre- 
cious stones in the last book, of amber and beryl for 
example, are as good as those in many of our mo- 
dern mineralogists. 

The books on Mining and Statuary abound with 
curious information ; but we must be content to se- 
lect a few anecdotes from the chapters on Painting. 
" Concerning pictures, and the first originall of paint- 
er's art, I am not able to resolue and set downe any 
thing for certaine ; neither is it a question pertinent 


to my designe and purpose. I am not ignorant that 
the Egyptians do vaunt thereof, auouching that it 
was deuised among them, and practised 6000 yeres 
before there was any talk or knowledge thereof in 
Greece : a vain brag and ostentation of theirs, as 
all the world may see. As for the Greeke writers, 
some ascribe the inuention of painting to the Si- 
cyonians, others to the Corinthians. But they do 
all jointly agree in this, that the first pourtrait was 
nothing els but the bare pourflirig and drawing one- 
ly the shadow of a person to his just proportion and 
liniments. This first draught or ground they began 
afterwards to lay with one simple colour, and no 
more ; which kind of picture they called Monochro- 
maton, i. e. one-coloured, for distinction from other 
pictures of sundry colours. As for the linearie por- 
traying, or drawing shapes and proportions by lines 
alone, it is said that either Philocles the Egyptian, 
or els Cleanthes the Corinthian, was the inuentor 
thereof. But whosoever deuised it, certes it is, Ar- 
dices the Corinthian, and Telepharies the Sicyonian, 
were the first that practised it ; howbeit, colours they 
vsed none ; yet they proceeded thus far as to dis- 
perse their lines within, as well as to draw the pour- 
fle ; and all with a coale and nothing els. The first 
that took upon him to paint with colour was Cleo- 
phantus the Corinthian, who (as they say) took no 
more than a peice of red pot-sherd, which he ground 
into powder, and this was all the colour that he 


" In Italy the art of painting was grown to some 
perfection before the time of Tarquinius Prisons, 
King of Rome ; for proofe whereof, extant their he, 
at this day to be seen at Ardea, within the temples 
there, antique pictures, and indeed more ancient 
than the city of Rome; and no pictures, I assure 
you, came euer to my sight which I wonder so much 
at, namely, that they should continue so long fresh, 
and as if but newly made, considering the places 
where they be are so ruinat and vncouered ouer 
head. At Caere there also continue certaine pictures, 
of greater antiquity than those which I have named ; 
and, verily, whoever shall view and peruse the rare 
workmanship therein, will confesse that no art in the 
world grew sooner to the height of absolute perfec- 
tion than it, considering that during the state of 
Troy no man knew what painting was. Amongst the 
Romanes it grew betimes into reputation, as may be 
seen by the Fabii, a most noble and honourable house 
in Rome, who, from this science, were syrnamed Pic- 
tores, i. e. the Painters, 450 yeares after the founda- 
tion of our city. Next after this, the workmanship 
of Pacuvius the poet was highly esteemed, and gaue 
much credit to the art. But the principall credit 
that painters attaind vnto at Rome was by the means 
of M. Valerius Maximus, who was the first that pro- 
posed to the view of all the world, one picture in a 
table wherein he caused to be painted that battel in 
Sicily wherein himselfe had defeated the Carthagi- 
nians and King Hiero. Lastly, in the publicke plaies 


which Claudius Pulcher exhibited at Rone, the 
painted clothes about the stage and theatre (which 
represented building), brought this art into great ad- 
miration ; for the workmanship was so artificial! and 
liuely, that the very rauens in the aire, deceived with 
the likenesse of houses, flew thither apace, for to set- 
tle thereupon, supposing, verily, these had been tiles 
and roofs indeed." 

Of the Grecian painters, and " notable pictures 
to the number of 305," Pliny gives a most interest- 
ing account. " Cimon the Cleonsean first deuised 
the works called Catagrapha, L e. pourtraits and 
images standing byassed and sidelong, the sundry ha- 
bits, also, of the visage and cast of the eie, making them 
to look, some backward ouer their shoulder, others 
aloft, and some againe downward. His cunning it 
was to shew in a picture, the knitting of the mem- 
bers in every ioint ; to make the veines appeare how 
they branched and spread ; and besides, the first he 
was that counterfeited in flat pictures the plaits, 
folds, wrinckles, and hollow lappets of the garment. 
Phinseus, the brother of Phidias, it was that painted 
the battel betweene the Athenians and Persians vpon 
the plains of Marathon. Polygnotus the Thasian 
was the first that painted women in gay and light 
apparell, with their hoods and other head attire of 
sundry colours. His inuention it was to paint images 
with their mouths open, to make them shew their 
teeth ; and, in one word, represented such varietie of 
countenance, far different from the rigid and heauy 


looke of the visage before his time. Parasius, an- 
other famous painter, it is reported, was so bold 
as to challenge Zeuxis himselfe openly ; in which 
contention and triall, Zeuxis, for proofe of his cun- 
ning, brought vpon the scaffold a table, where- 
in were clusters of grapes so liuely painted, that the 
very birds of the aire flew flocking thither to bee 
pecking at the said grapes. Parasius, again, for his 
part, to shew his workmanship, came with a picture, 
whereon hee had painted a linnen sheet, so like to a 
sheet indeed, that Zeuxis, in a glorious brauerie and 
pride of his heart, came to Parasius with these words, 
by way of a scorn and frumpe, ' Come on, sir, away 
with your sheet at once, that we may see your good- 
ly picture ;' but perceiuing his own error, he was 
mightily abashed, and, like an honest-minded man, 
yeelded the uictory to his aduersary, saying withal), 
* Zeuxis hath deceiued poore birds, but Parasius 
hath beguiled Zeuxis, a professed artisane.' But 
Apelles surmounted all that either were before or 
came after. His order was, when he had finished a 
piece of work or painted table, to set it forth in some 
open gallerie or thoroufare, to be seen of folke that 
passed by ; and himselfe would lye close behind it, to 
hearken what faults were found therewith, preferring 
the judgment of the common people before his owne. 
And, as the tale is told, it fell out vpon a time that 
a shoomaker, as he went by, seemed to controlle his 
workmanship about the shoo or pantofle that he had 
made to a picture, namely, that there was one latchet 


fewer there than should be. Appellee acknowledged 
the fault, mended it hy next morning, and set forth 
his table as his manner was. The same shoomaker 
coming by agairie, took some pride vnto himselfe that 
his admonition had sped so well, and was so bold as 
to cauil at something about the leg. Appelles could 
not endure that, but putting forth his head from be- 
hind, * Sirrah,' quoth he ' remember you are but a 
shoomaker, and therefore meddle no higher, I aduise 
you ;' which words afterwards came to be a common 
prouerb, Ne sutor ultra crepidam. King Alexander 
the Great much frequented his shop in his owne per- 
son ; and, besides, gave commandemerit that no paint- 
er should be so bardie as to draw his pictures, but 
only Appelles. Now, when the King, being in his 
shop, would seem to talk much, and reason about 
his art, and many times let fal some words to little 
purpose, bewraying his ignorance, Appelles, after his 
mild manner, would desire his grace to hold his 
peace ; and said, ' Sir, no more words, for feare the 
prentise boies there, that are grinding of colours, do 
laugh you to scorn.' So reverently thought the king 
of him that, being otherwise a cholericke prince, he 
would take any words at his hand in that familiar 
sort, and be neuer offended." 

The preceding short analysis will suffice to give 
an idea of the general nature of this great magazine 
of natural knowledge, such as it existed among the 
Romans. It.affords a store of rare and curious in- 
formation on most subjects connected with the arts 


and the physical sciences. Its most obvious defect 
is the want of any thing like system or classifica- 
tion ; for it is impossible to conjecture on what prin- 
ciple the different species of animals, birds, and rep- 
tiles are arranged. Like almost every writer of emi- 
nence, Pliny has found panegyrists who have lavish- 
ed upon him the most extravagant praise, and ca- 
lumniators who would allow him no merit whatever. 
" It is astonishing (says Buffon) that in every depart- 
ment he is equally great. Elevation of ideas and 
grandeur of style give additional elevation to his pro- 
found erudition. His work, which is as varied as 
Nature, paints her always in a favourable light. It 
may be said to be a compilation of all that had pre- 
viously been written, a transcript of every thing use- 
ful and excellent that existed ; but in this copy the 
execution is so bold, in this compilation the mate- 
rials are disposed in a manner so new, that it is pre- 
ferable to the greater part of the originals which treat 
of the same subjects." * 

The cool judgment of Cuvier, although in our opi- 
nion occasionally too severe, is more to be depended 
upon, in a scientific point of viexv, than the enthu- 
siasm of Buffon. It were impossible, he remarks, that 
in handling, even in the briefest manner, such a prodi- 
gious number of topics, Pliny should not have made 
known a multitude of facts, not only remarkable in 
themselves, but the more valuable to us, as he is the 
only author that records them. Unfortunately, how- 

* Buffon, Premier Discours sur THistoire Naturelle. 


ever, the manner in which he has collected and stated 
them, makes them lose a considerable portion of 
their value ; not only from his mingling together the 
true and the false, but more especially from the diffi- 
culty, and sometimes the impossibility, of discover- 
ing to what creatures he alludes. He was not such 
an observer of nature as Aristotle ; still less was he 
a man of genius sufficient to seize, like that great 
philosopher, the laws and relations by which nature 
has regulated her various productions. He is in ge- 
neral nothing more than a mere compiler ; and often 
too a compiler unacquainted himself with the mat- 
ters about which he treats, and unable to compre- 
hend the true force and exact meaning of the opi- 
nions which he has collected from others. The ex- 
tracts from the works of others he has arranged un- 
der certain chapters, adding thereunto from time to 
time his own reflections, which have nothing to do 
with scientific discussion, properly so called, but 
either present specimens of the most superstitious 
belief, or are the declamations of a peevish and cha- 
grined philosopher. The facts which he has accu- 
mulated, therefore, ought not to be regarded in their 
relations to the opinions which he himself forms, but 
judged by the rules of sound criticism, in conformity 
with what we know of the writers themselves, and 
the circumstances in which they were placed. 

On comparing his extracts with the originals, wheie 
the latter have been preserved, and more particularly 
with the writings of Aristotle, whom he professes to 


have copied chiefly in his zoological descriptions, it 
will he seen that Pliny, in making his selections, was 
far from giving the preference, on every occasion, to 
what was most important or most exact in the 
authors whom he consulted. He appears in general 
to have a strong predilection for things of a singular 
or marvellous nature ; for such, too, as harmonise 
more than others with the contrasts he is fond of in- 
stituting, or the reproaches he is in the habit of 
making against the religious opinions of his age. 
He does not, it is true, extend an equal degree of 
credit to every thing that he relates, hut his doubts 
and his belief seem to be taken up very much at 
random, and the most puerile tales are not always 
those which most excite his incredulity. Hence the 
most fabulous creatures manticori with human 
heads and the tails of scorpions winged horses 
mouthless or one-legged men catoblepas, whose 
sight alone was able to kill, play their part in his 
work by the side of the elephant and the lion.* And 

* Though we have given the opinion of Cuvier nearly in 
his own words, we have said we consider that distinguished 
naturalist to be too severe in his animadversions on the cre- 
dulity and implicit confidence of Pliny in the fabulous 
wonders which he narrates. Some authors have gone so 
far as to call him a contemptible impostor the Mendez 
Pinto of antiquity. Both the one and the other of these 
accusations have arisen, we are persuaded, from not attend- 
ing to the circumstances in which Pliny wrote, or to what 
he himself says by way of caution to his readers. In gene- 
ral he names his authority for what he relates, and qualifies 
his statements by giving them as the reports of others. 


yet all is not false even in those narratives most re- 
plete with fiction. We may sometimes detect the 

For example, when treating in the 52d chapter of the 
eleventh book on the signs and prognostications of longe- 
vity to be discovered in certain lines or marks in the hu- 
man body, he says : " I wonder verily that Aristotle not 
only belieued, but also sticked not to set downe in writing, 
that there were certaine signs in men's bodie, whereby we 
might foreknowe whether he were longliued or no. Which 
albeit, I take to be but vanities, and not rashly to be ut- 
tered without good aduisement ; yet will I touch the same, 
and deliuer them in some sort, since so great a clerk as 
Aristotle, was, held them for resolutions, and thought them 
worthy the penning." Again in the chapter * Of Wolves," 
in the eighth book, when speaking of a tradition in Arcadia 
that men could be transformed into wolves, by merely 
swimming across a certain pool, he thus characterises those 
" Greek writers," of whom Cuvier accuses him as being the 
servile and credulous copyist. " A wonder it is to see to 
what passe these Greeks are come in their credulity ; there 
is not so shameless a lye but it findeth one or other of them 
to vphold and maintain it." Even the seventh book that 
horrid register of human monsters noseless or headless 
bipeds with claws and shaggy hair he prefaces with this 
general caveat : " Thus much must I aduertise the read- 
ers of this mine history by the way, that I will not pawne 
my credit for many things that herein I shall deliuer, nor 
bind them to believe all I write, as touching strange and 
forreine nations : refer them rather I will to mine authors, 
whom in all points more doubtfull than the rest, I will cite 
and allege, whom they may belieue if they list. Only let 
them not thinke much to follow the Greeke writers," &c. 
Whatever may be thought of Pliny's want of discernment 
as a writer, or his defects as a naturalist, had his censurers 
attended to these and similar passages, they would have 
been more sparing of their reproaches, and less apt to 
charge him with faults which he never committed, and 
vhich he condemns as much as they do, 


truth which has served them for a basis, by recalling 
to mind that these are extracts from the works of 
travellers, and by supposing that ignorance and the 
Jove of the marvellous, on the part of the ancient 
travellers, have led them into these exaggerations, 
and have dictated to them these vague and superfi- 
cial descriptions. It has been alleged as another de- 
fect in Pliny, that he does not always give the true 
sense of the author he translates or copies from, es- 
pecially when designating several species of animals. 
Although we certainly possess but limited means of 
judging with respect to errors of this kind, yet it has 
been found that, on many occasions, he has substi- 
tuted for the Greek word, which in Aristotle denotes 
one kind of animal, a Latin word which belongs to 
one entirely different. It is true, indeed, that one 
of the greatest difficulties experienced by the ancient 
naturalists was that of fixing a nomenclature, and 
this want shews itself in Pliny more perhaps than in 
any other. The descriptions, or rather imperfect 
delineations which he gives, are almost always insuf- 
ficient for recognising the several species, where tra- 
dition has failed to preserve the particular name ; 
and there is even a large number whose names alone 
are given without any characteristic mark being ap- 
pended, or any means of distinguishing them from 
one another. If it were possible still to doubt re- 
specting the advantages enjoyed by the modern over 
the ancient methods, these doubts would be com- 
pletely dispelled by discovering that what the classi- 


cal writers have said relative to the virtues of these 
plants, is almost totally and completely valueless to 
us, from the impossibility of distinguishing the indi- 
vidual plants to which they refer. Our regret, how- 
ever, on this account, will he greatly diminished, if 
we call to mind with how little care the ancients, 
and Pliny in particular, have indicated the medicinal 
virtues of plants. They attribute so many fabulous 
and even absurd properties to those which we do 
know, that we are warranted in being very sceptical 
as to the virtues of those that are unknown. If we 
are to credit all that Pliny has recorded in that part 
of his work which treats of the materia medica, there 
is no human ailment for which nature has not pro- 
vided twenty remedies ; and these absurdities were 
confidently repeated by physicians for nearly two 
centuries after the revival of letters. 

As regards the scientific facts detailed in his work, 
it is obvious that Pliny possesses no real interest at 
the present day, except as respects certain manners 
and usages of the ancients certain processes fol- 
lowed by their operatives and artizans and certain 
particulars of a geographical and historical nature, of 
which we should have been ignorant without his aid. 
He traces their progress, he describes their products, 
he names the most celebrated artists, he points out 
the manner in which their labours were conducted ; 
and it cannot be doubted but that, if rightly under- 
stood, he would make us acquainted with some of 
those secrets by means of which the ancients exe- 


cuted works which we have heen able only imper- 
fectly to imitate. Here again, however, the diffi- 
culties of his nomenclature present themselves ; he 
mentions numerous substances which must enter in- 
to compositions, or be subjected to the operations of 
the arts, and yet we know not what they are. The 
nature of a few may with difficulty be conjectured 
by means of certain equivalent characteristics that 
are related of them ; but still even at the present 
day, when almost eveiy department of letters has 
its patrons and its cultivators, it may be said that we 
are without a proper commentary on Pliny's Natu- 
ral History, a work which is a desideratum in our 
literature, and which would be a task of no small 
labour and acquirement, since besides a critical 
knowledge of the Greek and Roman tongues, an ex- 
tensive acquaintance with every department in phy- 
sical science would be essential in him who should 
undertake it.* 

The only English version, as has been already 
stated, is that executed by Dr Philemon Holland, 
and published in London in 1601. As a translation 
it is generally accurate, but its style is antiquated, 
and it fails in the nomenclature of the plants and 
animals. This curious performance is dedicated to 
the famous Cecil, secretary to Queen Elizabeth, and 
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and was 
ushered into the world with the following proem : 

* Biographie Universelie, torn. xxxv. Anthon's Lamp. 
Classic. Diction., vol. ii. Art. Plinius. 


" The friendly acceptance which T. Livius of Padua 
(also translated by Dr Holland) hath found in this 
Ilealme since time hee shewed himselfe in English 
weed vnto her sacred Majestic, hath trained ouer 
vnto him his neighbour Plinius Secundus from Ve- 
rona, whome being now arraied in the same habit, 
yet fearefull to set foote forward in this forreine 
ground without the countenance of some worthie 
personage, who might both giue him his hand at his 
first entrance, in token of welcome, and also grace him 
afterwards with a favourable regard to win acquaint- 
ance, I humbly present vnto your honor." On the 
continent various editions and translations of Pliny 
have appeared in succession. From the beginning of 
the sixteenth century there was scarcely a celebrated 
city that -had not professors, supported at the pub- 
lic expense, for lecturing and commenting upon his 
Natural History. A host of editors and commenta- 
tors followed each other, from the Bishop of Corsica 
in 1470, down to Father Hardouin, who surpassed 
all his predecessors in erudition, and who undertook 
the work by order of Louis XIV., for the use of the 
Dauphin, with the assistance of Bossuet and Huet, 
the two most learned prelates in the kingdom. An- 
other edition was afterwards projected by the well 
known Malesherbes, in 1750, aided by some 
of the most distinguished savans and academicians 
in France, and published at Paris in 1771 in twelve 
volumes quarto. That of Franzius was published 
at Leipsic in 1778-91, in ten volumes, and being in 



octavo, was perhaps one of the hest and most conve 
nient that had appeared, until it was surpassed in 
point of typography by that recently published in 
London by Valpy, in the Delphin series of the Clas- 
sics, entitled the Regent's Edition. 





THE Pigeons, or family of the Columbidae, which 
furnish the materials for the present volume, are now, 
in accordance with their true affinities, admitted into 
the order of the Rasores, or Gallinaceous Birds, of 
which they form one of the five great groups or 
divisions, the other four being represented by the 
Pavonidae, Tetraonidae, Struthionidae, and Cracidae. 
In this Order,) they constitute what is termed an 
Aberrant family (considering the Pavonidae and Te- 
traonidae as the typical groups) ; and, from the affi- 
nity that several of the members composing it, she w 
to the Insessores or Perching Birds, they become the 
medium by which the necessary connexion between 
the Rasorial arid Insessorial orders is supported. 
Such, indeed, appears to have been nearly the view 
taken of this interesting group by the earlier syste- 
matists, whose classification was not always conduct- 
ed on those philosophical principles which guide 


the naturalists of the present day, as we find the 
Columbidse arranged alternately among the Rasorial 
and Gallinaceous Birds, or sometimes, as an inter- 
mediate order, separate from hoth. An investiga- 
tion of their habits and economy, as well as their 
anatomy, both external and internal, shewing the 
close approximation that some species make to the 
typical RasoreS) is, however, sufficient to prove that 
their affinity to the true Gallinaceous Birds is much 
stronger than that which connects them with the 
Insessores, though the latter is sufficiently so to 
support the requisite connexion between the two 

Till of late years, the Pigeons appear to have been 
a tribe unaccountably neglected ; and, in all the writ- 
ings of the earlier authors, they are classed under 
one generic head (Columba), without any attempt 
to distinguish groups, or to notice the differences of 
character and form exhibited by various species, and 
particularly apparent in such as approach nearest to 
the true Gallinse. Even at the present day, much 
remains to be done, as not only do many of the 
minor groups remain uri characterized, but even the 
greater Divisions or Subfamilies, as they are termed, 
are neither precisely nor satisfactorily established. 

In the history of the Pigeons and Gallinaceous 
Birds, published by M. Temminck some years ago, 
that learned author divided the former into three 
sections ; the first restricted to the Strong -billed 
Arboreal Pigeons, or those species now constituting 


Cuvier's genus Vinago ; the second embracing not 
only the typical Pigeons and Turtles, but many other 
forms, which appear more nearly allied to his first 
section ; and the third including such species as, 
from their habits and form, shewed a decided devia- 
tion from the Columbine Type, and an evident and 
nearer approach to the true Rasorial Birds. Vieil- 
lot has since separated the great crowned pigeon or 
Goura from the other ground doves, under the ge- 
neric title of Lophyrus ; and to our distinguished 
naturalist, Mr Swainson, we are indebted for indi- 
cating four additional generic groups, under the 
titles of gen. Ptilinopus, Ectopistes, Peristera, and 
Chamcepelia. To these we have ventured to add 
three more ; the first under the name of Carpopha* 
ga, containing the large arboreal fruit-ea'Vlg pi- 
geons ; the second Pkaps, of which Col. chalcoptera, 
Ami. is the type ; and the third, Geophilus, repre- 
sented by the Col. carunculata and CoL Nicobarica, 
species remarkable for their close approximation in 
form and habits to the true gallinaceous groups. 

Of the subfamilies or five typical forms of the 
Columbidae, we can only speak with diffidence 
uncertainty, as no analysis of the species sufficiently 
strict or extensive has hitherto been instituted, from 
whence conclusive deductions can be drawn. We 
shall only cursorily observe, that the Arboreal Pi- 
geons, embracing Vinago, Swainson's genus Pti- 
linopus, our genus Carpophaga, and some other 
undefined groups, with feet formed expressly for 


perching and grasping, and through which, from 
their habits and form, the necessary connexion with 
the Insessorial Order is supported, are likely to con- 
stitute one ; the Tine Pigeons, of which our ring- 
pigeon and common pigeon may be considered typi- 
cal, a second ; the Turtles, and their allies, with feet 
of different proportions from the preceding, and gra- 
duated tails, a third ; the Ground Pigeons, or Co- 
lumbi-gallines of the French naturalists, a fourth ; 
and the fifth is not unlikely to be represented by 
Vieillot's genus Lophyrus, in which the deviation 
from the proper Columbine form is not to that of 
the typical Rasores, but to the Cracidce, placed at 
the farther extremity, and, like the Columbidse, an- 
other aberrant family of the Rasorial Order. 

The Columbidae possess a very extensive geogra- 
phical distribution, species being found in every 
quarter of the world, and in all its cb'mates, except 
those within the frigid zones. It is, however, in 
the tropical climates of Southern Asia, and the is- 
lands of the great Indian Archipelago, that the spe- 
cies swarm in the greatest variety and abundance ; 
for in these warm and genial climates, a never-fail- 
ing supply of food, adapted to each kind, is al- 
ways to be found. It is here that most of the 
thick-billed pigeons, * vying with the parrots in the 
colour of their plumage, and, in some respects, re- 
sembling them in their manners, luxuriate amidst 
the thick and umbrageous foliage of the banyan, and 
other trees, whose fruit affords them a rich and ne- 
* Vinago, Cuv. 


ver-failing repast. It is here also that the small 
and beautiful Ptilinopi or turtelines, and the larger 
Carpophagee, or fruit-eating pigeons, are met with. 
It is in the odoriferous region of the Spice Islands, 
that these curious birds, the great crowned pigeon 
or gowra, and the Nicobar ground pigeon, remark- 
able for their respective deviation from the proper 
Columbine form, find a suitable abode ; besides a 
variety of other species belonging to different groups, 
Africa also abounds in many beautiful species, among 
which are several of the genus Vinago ; and to this 
continent belongs the Col. carunculata^ Auct., a bird 
that makes as near an approach as any of the family 
to the true Rasorial groups. In both regions of the 
American Continent, we meet with a great variety 
of species, many of them possessing the typical form 
of the family, as represented by the ring-pigeon or 
the common pigeon ; others approaching, both in 
form and habits, in a greater or less degree, to the 
typical Gallinaceous Birds, and in a manner taking 
the place of, or representing certain forms of the 
Tetraonidae, of which that continent is destitute. 
In Europe, the species become greatly reduced in 
number, and are confined to its warm and temperate 
districts, as it is only where the cerealia and legumi- 
nous plants flourish, and the oak and the beech bring 
their fruit to perfection, that the pigeons can find a 
regular supply of their appropriate food ; and even 
in many of those districts where they abound du- 
ring the summer and early autumnal months, they 


are obliged to migrate to warmer latitudes during 
the severity of winter, when the ground becomes 
congealed by frost, or covered with snow. 

In no tribe of the feathered race do we meet with 
a plumage better adapted to gratify and delight the 
eye, than that of the pigeons or family of the Co- 
lumbidae ; for among the numerous species of which 
it is composed, there exists a diversity as well as a 
brilliancy of effect, that cannot be contemplated with- 
out admiration. In some, the plumage shines with 
a dazzling and metallic gloss, varying in tint with 
every motion of the bird, and which vies in lustre 
with that of the diminutive and sparkling humming- 
bird. Such is that of the Carpophaga senea, Ocea- 
nica, and many other species. In other genera, as 
Vinago and Ptilinopus, the plumage is admirably as- 
simi'ated to the arboreal habits of the birds, con- 
sisting of delicate shades of yellows and vivid greens, 
just sufficiently contrasted with smaller masses of 
richer or more resplendent hues to produce the hap- 
piest effect. In the typical groups again, a modest 
yet chaste assortment of colours generally prevails, 
and which, though less striking at first sight, never 
foils to give permanent satisfaction to the eye. As 
the species approach the true Rasorial tribes, the 
colours become more uniform in tint, but still, in 
certain lights, are encircled by glossy reflections, 
which especially prevail upon the region of the neck 
and breast. 

In texture the plumage is generally close and ad- 


pressed, and the feathers feel hard and firm to the 
touch, from the thickness and strength of the rachls 
or shaft. Upon the neck they assume a variety of 
forms, in some species being rounded and stiff, and 
disposed in a scale-like fashion ; in others, of an 
open, disunited texture, or with the tips divided and 
curiously notched ; and, in the hackled and nicobar 
pigeons, they are long, acuminate, and laciniated, 
like those of the domestic cock ; and we may add, 
that, in nearly all, they are so constituted as to re- 
flect prismatic colours, when held at various angles 
to the light. 

In their mode of nidification, the majority of the 
Columbidse bears a close analogy to the Insessores ; 
for, with the exception of some few of the ground pi- 
geons, they build their nest in trees. The number 
of eggs laid at each period of hatching is (with the 
above exception) restricted to two, the colour white, 
or yellowish-white ; they are incubated by both sexes, 
the male relieving his mate whenever she is com- 
pelled to quit the nest in search of food. The young 
are hatched with merely a thin sprinkling of hairy- 
like down, and are fed by their parents in the riest 
till able to fly. At first the food is administered in 
a soft or pulpy state, being thrown up by the old 
birds from their crop, after undergoing a partial di- 
gestion, by which it is rendered a fit nutriment for 
the callow young ; but as they advance in age, it is 
given in a less comminuted form. 

The flight of many of the arboreal, and most of 


the typical pigeons, is powerful and rapid, the wings 
being fully developed, and often acuminate ; and the 
pectoral muscles strong, and calculated to support 
it for a long continuance without fatigue. As the 
species depart from the typical form, and approach 
nearer to the true Rasores in their form and habits, 
these members become shorter and rounded, and, 
when expanded, rather concave beneath, like those 
of the common partridge. In these groups, the 
flight is abrupt, and at a low elevation, and can only 
be supported for a short time. This deficiency of 
flight, however, is in a great degree compensated 
by the increased length of their legs, which enables 
them to run with great rapidity upon the surface of 
the ground. 

In disposition the Columbidse are wild and timo- 
rous, and with the exception of the common pigeon 
and ringed turtle, the attempts to reclaim or domes- 
ticate other species have hitherto failed. In regard 
to the first mentioned kind, it may be observed, 
that its peculiar habits and economy appear to have 
been taken advantage of from the remotest period, 
for besides the interesting mention made of it in the 
earlier pages of the sacred volume, when it was sent 
forth as a messenger from the ark, and returned the 
harbinger of glad tidings, bearing the olive branch of 
peace in its mouth, we afterwards find it and the 
turtle enumerated among the sacrificial offerings and 
atonements under the Mosaical dispensation. Among 
the heathen nations, from the affection exhibited 


by the sexes to each other, it was dedicated to the 
Goddess of Love, and represented as her constant 
and appropriate attendant. That the common pigeon 
and domestic turtle of the present day, are the same 
species which were thus cultivated and protected by 
the ancients, is evidently and satisfactorily proved 
by the descriptions of various authors, as well as the 
numerous and faithful representations handed down 
to us by the chisel of their sculptors. 

The voice or notes of the Columbidse are few, 
in all the species much akin to each other, and 
consist of guttural sounds or cooings frequently re- 
peated ; in many they are plaintive and tender in 
tone, in others hoarse and rather unpleasant. They 
are principally used by the male when paying court 
to his mate, and are mostly confined to the pairing 
and breeding season. 

As a food for man, the flesh of the pigeons is 
wholesome and very nutritious, generally rich in 
flavour, juicy, and highly coloured. 

The general characters of the family may be thus 
stated : Bill strait, the tip hard and horny, more or 
less arched and deflected, the base covered with a 
soft, naked, and bulging membrane, which partly 
covers and protects the nostrils. Orbits of the eyes 
more or less naked. Feet with four toes, nearly 
divided, three anterior and one posterior, the latter 
placed on the same base or plane with the front toes. 

We now commence our description of the family 
with the 



IN the warm and intertropical climates of Asia 
and Africa, besides a variety of pigeons, character- 
ized by a form similar to that of our ring-pigeon and 
other European species, groups of this beautiful race 
are met with, differing from them in many particu- 
lars, both as to form, habits, and economy, and con- 
stituting independent genera or divisions in this ex- 
tensive family. Such are the members of the genus 
Vinago, a group which Cuvier first separated from 
the typical pigeons, and of which our first plate, 
representing a common though elegant species, is 
given as an example. The predominating colours 
in all are green and yellow of different intensities, 
contrasted more or less in certain parts with rich 
purple or reddish-brown. The greater wing-coverts 
and secondary quills are also in most of the species 
distinctly margined or edged with a conspicuous 
line of the brightest yellow, which gives them a 
singular and beautiful effect. In the more essen- 
tial characters, their bill is much stronger and thicker 
than that of the pigeons, the tip or horny part being 
of a very hard substance, much hooked and inflated, 
the nostrils are more exposed, and scarcely exhibit 
any appearance of the swollen or projecting mem- 



brane so conspicuous in the common 
pigeon and its congeners. The legs 
are very short and partly clothed with 
feathers helow the tarsal joint ; the 
feet are formed expressly for perch- 
ing or grasping ; the sole, or that part 
of the foot which rests immediately 
upon the branch, being greatly en- 
larged by the extension of the mem- 
brane, giving it a firm base of sup- 
port ; the exterior toe is longer than 
the inner, and the claws are very 
strong, sharp, and semicircular, close- 
ly resembling in form those of the 
woodpecker or other scansorial birds. 
The wings are of mean length, but 
strong and pointed, the second and 
third quill-feathers being nearly equal, 
and the longest in each wing. 

In all the species submitted to ex- 
amination, the third quill has the cen- 
tral part of the inner web deeply 
notched, as if a piece had been cut 
out, as represented in the wood-cut 
annexed. This particular character 
is confined to the genus, but many 
other members of the Columbida? 
possess peculiarities as striking in 
the form of the first and other quill- 
feathers, which, as modifications of 

94 VIM AGO. 

form in members of such importance, become of 
value in arranging the species according to their af- 
finities. The tail consists of fourteen feathers. 

In accordance with the structure of their feet, 
they are the constant inhabitants of woods, where 
they subsist upon berries and fruits. In disposition 
they are wild and timorous. Our first plate repre- 
sents a species common in many parts of the east. 
It is the 


Vinago aromatica. CUVIER. 

Columba aromatica, Lath. Ind. Orn. 2. 599. sp. 23. Co- 
lombe aromatique, Temminck, Pig. et Gall. 1. p. 51. 

THE Aromatic Vinago is found in all the warmer 
parts of Continental India, as well as in Java and 
other adjacent islands, but being strictly an arboreal 
bird, it is only to be met with in the retirement of 
the forest, or amid the thick and expansive foliage 
of the banyan, the sacred tree of the East, and which 
from its peculiar mode of growth almost constitutes 
a forest of itself. Ensconced in this leafy covering, 
in which it is still more effectually concealed by the 
assimilating colour of its plumage, * it passes the 

* The following note accompanied the skins of V. mili- 
taris and aromatica sent from India, and as illustrative of 
their peculiar habits, we make no apology for thus introduc- 
ing it : " Green Pigeon. This beautiful bird has brilliant 
red eyes. Its feet are something like the parrot's, and it 
climbs in the same way as that bird. It is very difficult to 
find, for although a flock is marked into a tree, yet its co- 
lour is so similar to the leaf of the banyan (on the small 
red fig of which it feeds), that if a bird does not move, you 
may look for many minutes before you can see one, al- 
though there may be fifty in the tree." 


greatest part of its life, with an abundance of food 
always within reach, the fruit of this tree, which is 
a species of fig, constituting its favourite and prin- 
cipal support. 

Temmirick, in his " Histoire des Pigeons et GaU 
linacees," hesides a description of the Aromatic Vi- 
nago, agreeing with the specimens we have seen, 
describes two varieties, one with the head and neck 
of a reddish colour, the other with the under parts 
of the plumage grey ; but whether such varieties are 
accidental, or result from age or sex, he has not 
mentioned. He also considers the Pompadour and 
hook-billed pigeons of Latham, and the yellow-faced 
pigeon of Brown, as all referable to this species ; but 
of the correctness of this supposition, it is impossi- 
ble, without a comparison of specimens, to speak 
with any degree of certainty, especially where the 
species bear so great a general resemblance to each 

The Aromatic Vinago is of a wild and timorous 
disposition, and is generally seen in flocks or socie- 
ties, except during the period of reproduction, when 
they pair, and retire to the recesses of the forest.* 

* Of the notes of this bird no notice has been taken by 
any of its describers,but those of a nearly allied species, the 
Vinago Sphcenura, appear to be more diversified than the 
usual cooings of most of the Columbidee, as we may collect 
from the following anecdote, communicated by Mr Neill. 
who kept two birds of this species in confinement for some 
years. He says, " I had two, but both I believe were males. 
Both had a songvery different from the mere cooingof the 
Ring Dove. When they sung in concert, they gave the 


The nest is simple and composed of a few twigs 
loosely put together, and the eggs are two, a num- 
ber which prevails in the majority of the family, a 
few of the ground pigeons, which approach more 
nearly to the other Gallinaceous tribes, being the 
only exceptions. The base or softer part of the bill 
is blackish -grey, the tip yellowish-white, strong, 
much hooked, and bulging on the sides. The fore- 
head is of a bright siskin green, the crown greenish- 
grey, the chin and throat gamboge-yellow, the re- 
mainder of the neck, the breast, belly, lower back, 
and rump, yellowish-green. The upper back or 
mantle, and a part of the lesser wing coverts, are of 
a rich brownish -red, and exhibit a purplish tinge in 
certain lights. The greater wing-coverts and secon- 
dary quills are greenish-black, with a deep and well- 
defined edging of the purest gamboge-yellow through- 
out their length. The tail has the two middle 
feathers wholly green, and slightly exceeding the 
rest in length ; these are of a bluish grey with a dark 
central band. The under tail-coverts are yellowish- 
white, barred with green. The legs and toes red, 
the claws pale-grey, strong, sharp, and semicircular. 
Our next plate represents the 

same little tune, but on different keys. After the death of 
one, the survivor used to sing at command, or at all events 
when incited to it, by beginning its tune." 




Vinago oxyura. 

Columba oxyura, Reinwardt. Columba a queue pointue, 
Temminck, PL Color, pi. 240. 

IN this species a slight deviation from the typical 
example delineated in the foregoing plate may be ob- 
served, the wings being devoid of the yellow edging 
so conspicuous in most of them, and the tail having 
acquired a more conical form, with the two middle 
feathers acuminated and projecting considerably be- 
yond the rest. This modification seems to indicate 
some slight deviation in the habits and economy of 
the bird; but as M. Temminck's description (the only 
one hitherto published) is totally silent on this in- 
teresting point, we are obliged to confine ourselves 
to a mere description of the plumage. 

The greater part of the body, both above and be- 
low, is green, but brightest upon the throat and 
belly. Across the breast is a narrow bar or half 
collar of saffron-yellow ; the vent and under tail-co- 
verts are yellow, the latter with a great part of their 
inner webs green. The greater quills are black, but 


( Siiarp 
Native of Java . 



some of the secondaries are margined with grey. 
The elongated tail-feathers have their upper surface 
of a greyish-brown ; the remainder are of a deep grey 
at the base, succeeded by a black bar, and terminat- 
ing with bluish -grey. The under surface of all the 
tail-feathers is black for two-thirds of their length 
from the base, the tips being of a pale pearl-grey. The 
tarsi are partly dotted with green feathers, the re- 
mainder and toes red ; the claws are grey and much 
hooked. The bill is pretty stout, the tip arched 
and inflated, and of a leaden or grey colour ; the soft 
or basal part is of a deep bluish-grey. 

This kind is also a native of Java, where it is 
widely disseminated, and was first discovered by 
MM. Reinwardt and Diard, who forwarded specimens 
to the Parisian and Netherland Museums. 

In addition to the species here described, the fol- 
lowing are found in India and its islands : V. mili- 
taris, psittacea, pompodora, and vernans. In Africa, 
the V. Australis, calva, and Abyssinica, and a new 
species from the Himalaya has been figured by Mr 
Gould in his beautiful Century of Birds from that 
district, under the title of Vinago sphenura. 

We now pass on to a beautiful group : It is the 



NEARLY allied to the Thick-billed Pigeons or 
Vinago, in the form of the feet, arboreal habits, and 
prevailing dispositions of colours, we find another 
extensive group inhabiting the tropical forests of In- 
dia and Australia, and the islands of the Pacific, but 
diflfering from that genus in the weakness and slender 
structure of their bill, which member approaches 
nearer in form to that of the typical pigeons. To 
this group, taken collectively, Mr Swainson, in the 
first volume of the Zoological Journal, in an inte- 
resting paper containing observations on the Colum- 
bidse, has given the title of Ptilinopus ; but as he there 
points out the different structure of the wing, in re- 
gard to the form of the first quill-feather, as it exists 
in the Columba purpurata, Lath., and Col. mag- 
nifica, Temm., he proceeds to observe, that it may 
be necessary still further to subdivide it. This, up- 
on an investigation and analysis of a variety of spe- 
cies, we feel inclined to do, restricting the generic 
title of Ptilinopus to that group of smaller pigeons 
in which the first quill-feather becomes suddenly nar- 
rowed or attenuated towards the tip, and the tarsi 
are feathered almost to the division of the toes. 
This group is typically represented by the Col. pur- 
purata of Lath., and also contains two beautiful spe- 



cies figured in the " Planches coloriees," C. monacha, 
and C. porphyrio, the C. cyano-virens of Lesson also 
belongs to it. To the other groups, of which C. mag- 
nifica, Temm., and Columba CEnea, Lath., may be 
taken as typical examples, we have given provisionally 
the name of Carpophaga, as indicative 
of the fruits upon which they subsist. 
In the genus Ptilinopus, as thus re- 
stricted, and which, in conjunction with 
Carpophaga, seems to connect Vi- 
nago or Thick-hooked-billed Pigeons, 
with the typical Columbidae, the bill 
is comparatively slender, the base 
slightly depressed, and the soft cover- 
ing of the nostrils riot much arched 
or swollen ; the tip though hard is little 
inflated, with a gentle curvature ; the 
forehead is rather low and depressed, 
the legs are short but strong, the tarsi 
clothed with feathers nearly to the divi- 
sion of the toes ; the feet are calculated 
for grasping, and are similar in form 
to those of Vinago, the sides of the 
toes being enlarged by the extension of 
the lateral membrane, and the outer 
longer than the inner one ; the wings 
are strong and of moderate length, the 
first quill-feather considerably shorter 
than the second, and suddenly narrowed 
towards the tip, a peculiarity also pos- 


sessed by several pigeons belonging to other distinct 
groups, and by which means a connection is thus 
kept up between them. The third and fourth quills 
are nearly equal to each other, and are the longest in 
the wing. The tail is of proportionate length, and 
generally square at the end. They inhabit the Malac- 
cas, the Celebes, and the islands of the Pacific, feed- 
ing upon the various fruits and berries produced in 
such teeming abundance in those warm and produc- 
tive latitudes. The predominating colour of their 
plumage, like that of Vinago, is green, varied in 
parts with yellow and orange, and in some beauti- 
fully encircled with masses of purplish-red and vivid 
blue. Their habits seem retired, as they pass the 
greatest part of their life in the solitudes of the fo- 
rest, and their resort is only to be detected by their 
frequent and audible cooing notes. 

The first example we give of this beautiful genus, 
is the 





Ptilinopus purpuratus. SWAINSON. 

Columba purpurata, Lath. Index Ornith. 2, 398, sp. 17. 

Temm. Pig. et Gall. 8vo, i. p. 180 Wag. Syst. Av. No. 

30 Purple-crowned Pigeon, Lath. Syn. iv. 626, 15. 

THIS lovely bird, first described by Latham in his 
General Synopsis, from specimens brought from 
Tonga- Taboo, in which, as well as Otaheite, and 
others of the Friendly Islands, it is found numerously 
disseminated in all their wooded districts, is also met 
with in the Celebes, the Isle of Timor, and in Aus- 
tralia. It is not, however, improbable that other nearly 
allied species have sometimes been mistaken for it, 
as some supposed varieties have been described, 
which it is difficult to reconcile with the usual plu- 
mage of the P. purpuratus. Such, indeed, appears to 
be the opinion of Wagler, who, detailing the plumage 
of both sexes as alike, considers the bird figured by 
M. Temminck, in the " Planches Coloriees," for the 
female of this species, to be distinct, and has accord- 
ingly, in his Systema Avium, named it Columba 
xanthogaslra, and such also may be the case with 


the variety mentioned by Latham and Temminck, 
in which the crown of the head, instead of a bright 
ruby or amaranth colour, is of a very deep purple, 
and altogether devoid of the yellow encircling band 
so conspicuous in the true P. purpuratus. Mr Swain- 
son, again, has described, in the paper formerly al- 
luded to, a supposed female or young bird, in which 
the ruby- coloured crown is merely indicated by a 
spot of dull lilac in front of the head, and the yellow 
line encircling the crown is only visible near the eye. 
Under such circumstances, it is difficult to say what 
the plumage of the female actually is, and whether 
the varieties described are to be attributed to age, 
immaturity, or local distribution, or are really indi- 
cative of specific distinctions. Future and more ex- 
tended observations can alone determine these ques- 

The length of this species is from nine to ten inches. 
The bill, about half an inch long, is of a grey colour ; 
the tip or horny part of the upper mandible mode- 
rately arched, that of the lower suddenly contracted 
where it forms the darker portion of the bill. The 
forehead and crown is covered by a patch of rich 
amaranth or rose-lilac colour, bordered round by a 
narrow band of king's-yellow. The cheeks, occiput, 
and sides of the neck, are of a delicate greenish-grey, 
the chin and throat of a pale gamboge-yellow. The 
feathers upon the lower part of the fore-neck and 
breast, are of a peculiar form, their colour a deli- 
cate pale-green, tipt with cinereous or ash-grey, 


having, as it were, a piece cut out from the tip of 
each in the form of a V. Beyond the 
breast is a band of pale green, succeeded 
by a small spot of rose-lilac in the 
middle of the belly, which passes into a 
rich orange, that again by degrees fades 
into a pure yellow, which occupies the 
vent or lower part of the abdomen. The flanks and 
sides are pale-green ; the under tail-coverts rich orange. 
The upper plumage is of a rich and glossy parrot- 
green ; the scapulars with their central part of a deep 
purple or blue, according to the light in which they 
are viewed : the wing-coverts and secondaries are 
margined with yellow. Greater quills, with their 
anterior webs, black, glossed with green, the base of 
the exterior webs green, finely margined with pale 
yellow ; first quill, with the tip, for nearly an inch in 
length, is suddenly narrowed, in the form represented 
in the wood cut. Tail of fourteen feathers, even at 
the end ; the exterior webs green, the inner blackish- 
green. The tips of all, except the two central fea- 
thers, which are wholly green, with a broad band of 
rich yellow. The tarsi are covered nearly to the di- 
vision of the toes, with soft thick-set yellowish-green 
feathers. The soles of the feet are broad and flat ; 
the claws hooked and strong, the exterior toe longer 
than the inner. 

This species, as the structure of the feet so evi- 
dently implies, is the constant inhabitant of wooded 
districts, where it subsists upon various fruits and 


berries, among which are enumerated those of the 
Limonia bifoliata and Banana. Its voice or cooing 
notes aie said to be pleasing in tone, and it is pro- 
bably from their sound that it has obtained in Tonga- 
taboo, the name of Kurukuru. In Otaheite it is 
called Oopa or Oopuro. 

Our next plate represents a second species of this 
genus, an inhabitant of the evergreen forests of the 
Celebes ; it is the 


Native of 



Ptilinopus monachus. SWAINSON. 

Columba monacha, Reinwardt Temm. PL Col. 253 Wag, 
Syst. Av. sp. 35. 

THIS beautiful little species, which belongs to the 
same group as the P. purpuratus, is a native of 
the Celebes, and was first discovered by M. Rein- 
wardt, and afterwards figured by M. Temminck in 
his splendid work, the " Planches Coloriees." In 
size it is inferior to the above mentioned bird, as its 
utmost length does not exceed seven inches. Of its 
habits we have no detailed account, the description 
given by Temminck being confined to the colours 
and disposition of its plumage, which in a great de- 
gree is analogous to that of the other species. The 
forehead, the crown, the corners of the mouth, and 
a large patch upon the central part of the abdomen, 
are of a brilliant Berlin blue. Over the eyes, and 
encircling the occiput, is a band of king's-yellow, 
and the same colour prevails upon the chin and 
throat, vent, and under-tail coverts. The rest of 


the plumage is of a fine grass or parrot green ; the 
secondary quills are edged with yellow. The tail 
has the interior webs of the feathers grey, the lateral 
feathers, when spread, exhibiting a deep bluish -green 
spot or bar even to their tips. The bill is blackish, 
grey. The tarsi are plumed nearly to the division 
of the toes, which are crimson-red. 

The next plate, a nearly allied species ; it is the 

Satire of HewGuinea. 




Ptilinopus cyano-virens LESSON. 

Columba cyano-virens, Lesson, Vog. de la Coquille, pi. 42, 
M. and F Id. Man. (TOrnith. ii. 169. 

THIS species, which vies in beauty of plumage 
with the preceding, is a native of New Guinea, where 
it dwells in the evergreen forests of these equatorial 
regions, and where, from the frequent low cooings 
which were heard by the crew of the Coquille, 
when on a voyage of discovery to these parts, it ap- 
pears to be very abundant. Its total length barely 
exceeds eight inches. The bill is slender, the basal 
part black, the tip or horn of a light grey. The 
sides are reddish-brown. The tarsi are short and fea- 
thered nearly to the toes, which are of a rich orange 
yellow, and their structure similar to those of the 
P. purpuratus. The upper part of the body, wings, 
tail, lower breast, and sides, are bright grass- green. 
Upon the occiput is a large spot or bar of indigo 
blue, which colour also occupies the shaft or central 
part of the scapulars, and some of the lesser wing- 


coverts. The chin is greyish-white, passing into 
greenish-grey towards the breast. The lower part 
of the abdomen and the costal band, are white, the 
feathers margined with pale yellow ; the thighs and 
tarsal feathers are green ; the vent is white, and 
the under tail coverts are yellowish- white, with 
the greater part of the inner webs green. The 
greater quills are brownish-black, with a narrow 
edging of pale yellow, and the wing-coverts and se- 
condaries are also margined with yellow. The fe- 
male is devoid of the blue spot upon the occiput, as 
well as those which ornament the scapular feathers 
of the male. The forehead and chin are grey, and 
the abdomen and vent clothed with feathers of a 
uniform pale-green. In other respects her plumage 
is analogous to that of the male. 

In the description of this bird by M. Lesson, it is 
to be regretted that no notice is taken of the form 
of the first quill-feather, its emargination being an 
essential character of the group. This we the more 
lament, as no opportunity of examining a specimen 
has occurred. We are therefore unable to state posi- 
tively, whether it agrees in this particular with the 
last described kind ; but, judging from analogy, and 
its close resemblance to that species in other respects, 
we entertain little or no doubt of its presence in 
nearly a similar form, particularly as it is found de- 
veloped in other species apparently further removed 
from Ptilinopus purpuratus, one of which, the Ptili- 
nopus porphyrea, is figured in the Planches Coloriees 


of M. Temminck. Omissions of this kind shew the 
necessity of great accuracy in the description of new 
species, as it is upon characters in such essential 
members as the wings, feet, bill, &c. that their situa- 
tion in regard to other species or groups must be de- 

We now pass on to the larger species of Mr Swain- 
son's group, to which we have given the name of 



IN this group, which is composed of hirds of a 
much larger size than the preceding, the wings, though 
possessing the same relative proportions, have no 
emargination or sudden narrowing of the tip of the,, 
first quill. Their tarsi also are not so thickly or en- 
tirely feathered ; and their nostrils are placed nearer 
to the base of the bill. In some species, green, yel- 
low, and purple, are the prevailing colours ; in others 
a rich bronzed or metallic colour composes the upper 
plumage, exhibiting shades of deep green and pur- 
ple, according to the light in which it is viewed, 
while in those which lead the way to the typical 
pigeons, the tints become less vivid and more uni- 
form in their distribution. Their bill is considerably 
depressed at the base, the membrane in which the 
nostrils are placed but little prominent or swollen, 
the tip compressed and moderately arched, the tomia 
slightly sinuated. The forehead is low, and the fea- 
thers advance considerably upon the soft portion of 
the bill. In many of them a caruncle or gristly knob, 
varying in size and shape according to the species, 
grows upon the basal part of the upper mandible du- 
ring the season of propagation. This is supposed to 
be common to both sexes, as the female is described 
with it in Duperry's Voyage. After this epoch it 


is rapidly absorbed, and its situation scarcely to be 
observed upon the surface of the bill. The feet are 
powerful, and formed for grasping, the soles being 
flat and greatly extended. As in the other members 
of this group, the hind toe is fully developed and long, 
and the exterior longer than the inner toe. 

They inhabit the forests of India, the Moluccas, 
Celebes, Australia, and the Pacific Isles. Their food 
consists of fruits and berries. That of the precious 
nutmeg, or rather its soft covering, known to us by 
the name of Mace, at certain seasons affords a fa- 
vourite repast to some species, and upon this luxu- 
rious diwt they become so loaded with fat, as fre- 
quently when shot to burst asunder when they fall 
to the ground. And here we may remark on the 
remarkable provision Nature has made for the pro^ 
pagation as well as the dissemination of this valuable 
spice, for the nutmeg itself, which is generally swal- 
lowed with the whole of its pulpy covering, passes un- 
injured through the digestive organs of the bird, and is 
thus dispersed throughout the group of the Moluccas 
and other islands of the east. Indeed, from repeat- 
ed experiments, it appears that an artificial prepara- 
tion, analogous to that which it undergoes in its pas- 
sage through the bird, is necessary to ensure the 
growth and fertility of the nut ; and it was not till 
after many and unsuccessful attempts had been made 
that a lixivium of lime, in which the nuts were steep- 
ed for a certain time, was found to have the wished- 
for effect, and to induce the germinating tendency. 



The fruit of the Banyan (Ficus religiosusj, the 
Sacred Tree of the Hindoos, is also a favourite re- 
past of all the pigeons of this group, as well as of the 
stronger-billed Vinago. 

The subject of our next plate represents one of 
the most beautiful of its kind : It is the 

'Nati vr- of Australia. 



Carpophaga magnified. 

Columba magnifica, Temm. in Trans. Linn Soc. vol. xiii. 
p. 124. Id, PI. Col. pi. 163. 

THE rich assemblage of colours exhibited in this 
bird induced M. Temminck, its first describer, to 
give it the appropriate name of Magnificent. It is 
a native of the eastern parts of Australia, a coun- 
try whose productions present so much of what is 
new and interesting in every department of zoology. 
It is said to feed chiefly upon the fruit of one of the 
Palms, in that country called the Cabbage Tree, from 
the culinary use made of the top or embryo leaves. 
In form and character it agrees with the Carpophaga 
cenea, or Nutmeg Pigeon, and also with the Carpo- 
phaga oceanica, the subject of our next plate. In 
size it equals, or rather surpasses, the Common Ring 
Pigeon, the tail being longer in proportion. The 
bill, which is rather slender, has the soft or mem- 
branous part of a brownish-orange ; the horny tip, 
which is yellowish-white, is slightly arched, but hard 
and compressed ; the nostrils are open, and their co- 
vering but little swollen, and not projecting to the 
same extent as in the Common Pigeon ; the fore- 


bead, as in other members of this restricted genus, 
is low and flat, and the feathers of the antiae cover 
a considerable portion of the soft part of the bill. 
The head, the cheeks, and the upper part of the 
neck, are of a fine pale bluish-grey, which passes in- 
to pale green towards the lov/er part of the neck and 
back. The upper parts of the body are of a rich 
golden-green, assuming various shades of intensity 
as viewed in different lights, the wing- coverts are 
spotted with rich king's-yellow, forming an oblique 
bar across the wings. The quills and tail are of the 
richest shining green, changing in effect with every 
motion of the bird. From the chin downwards pro- 
ceeds a streak of the finest auricula purple (the base 
of the feathers being of a deep sapphire green) : this 
line gradually expands as it descends and covers the 
whole breast and abdomen. The lower belly, thighs, 
and under wing- coverts, are of the richest king's- 
yellow. The feet are bluish-black, the tarsi short 
and clothed with yellow feathers half way down their 
front and sides, the claws strong, much hooked, and 
formed for prehension. Nearly allied to this species, 
if not a small variety of it, is the Columba amarantha 
of Lesson, which inhabits the Islands of New Ireland 
and New Guinea. 

Our next plate represents another species belong- 
ing to this group, from a specimen in the possession 
of Mr Gould : It is the 

Xalive of the Caroline Islands. 



Carpophaga oceanica. 


Columba oceanica, Lesson, Voyage de la Coquille^ pi. 41. 
Id. Man. tfOrnith. v. ii. p. 166. 

THE metallic splendour of the dorsal plumage of 
this beautiful bird, is only equalled by that of another 
species, viz. the Nutmeg Pigeon, or Columba cenea 
of Latham, to which it bears a marked resemblance, 
and that not confined to a similar effect or play of 
colour, but to a peculiarity of form observable in the 
bills of both species. This consists of an excrescence 
or globular knob, which has its origin upon the basal 
part of the upper mandible, and which in the present 
species attains the size of a small cherry, but in the 
aenea is not so large, and scarcely so globular in shape. 
From the observations that have been made upon 
these birds, it appears that this excrescence, common 
'to many of the group, is not a permanent feature, 
but, like that which we see in the sheldrake, is only 
developed during the season of reproduction, the 
base of the bill at other times scarcely exhibiting any 
indication of the swelling. * The great similarity in 

* As bearing more particularly upon this subject, we quote 
the following passage from Du Puy's Voyage de la Coquille, 


the appearance of these two birds, might naturally 
create a suspicion that they were merely varieties of 
one species ; but the observations of naturalists, and 
particularly of M. Lesson, prove that they are quite 
distinct ; for, in addition to a constant and unvary- 
ing difference in certain parts of the plumage, and in 
the form of the frontal knob, they possess a different 
geographical distribution, the Carpophaga cenea, or 
Nutmeg Pigeon, being a native of continental India, 
the Moluccas, and New Guinea, the Carpophaga 
oceanica an inhabitant of the Caroline and other 
islands of the Pacific. The oceanica is also inferior 
in size, being nearly a third less than the cenea, the 
latter measuring nearly eighteen inches in length, the 
former not more than fourteen. It belongs to the 
same group as the subject of the preceding plate, 
possessing a similar form in the characteristic mem- 
bers of the bill, wings, and feet. Its food in the Isle 
of Onalan, where it was met with in great numbers 
by the Coquille, in her voyage of discovery, consist- 
ed of a berry, not named, but which abounded in all 
the wooded districts of that island. 

where, speaking of the pigeons, it says, " Nous citerons des 
belles colombes Muscadivores,dont plusieurs e'taient privees 
de la caroncle noire et arrondie que presentaient le plus 
grand-nombre des especes. Get organe entierement grais- 
seauz, ne doit-s'elever sur le base de la mandibule superieure 
qu'a 1'epoque que se distend pour recevoir ce fluide, resultat 
d'une vie en exces, doit apres la fecondation, sedissiper, se 
recouvrir, et ne plus paraitre au dessus des narines que 
comme une legere fron9ure cutanee." 


The following is a description of this species, as 
given by M. Lesson, in his Manuel d'Ornithologie. 
Total length, fourteen inches. Bill one inch, sur- 
rounded at its base with a rounded black carruncle 
or knob. Feet strong, and of a vivid orange colour, 
the tarsi feathered nearly to the toes, which have 
their lateral membranes much distended. Wings 
pointed, and about an inch shorter than the tail. 
The forehead, cheeks, and throat, are of a greyish- 
white. The lower and back part of the neck deep 
bluish-grey. The back, wings, rump, and tail, of a 
uniform metallic deep green, the breast and upper 
part of the abdomen of a pale purplish-grey, the 
lower belly, vent, and thighs, of a deep reddish- 

Beddes the species already mentioned, the Car- 
pophara hyogastra, Carpophaga pinon, Carpophaga 
luctuca, and many others belong, to this beautiful 

Befre we proceed to the Pigeons, we must here 
introduce an interesting form, apparently belonging 
to this division of the Columbidse, the structure of 
the b// being intermediate between that of Vinago 
and (alumba, and the feet formed upon the same 
plan a those of the rest of the Ptilinopinae : It is the 



Columba phasianella. TEMM. 

Columba phasianella, Temm. PL Col. 1. 100 Id. in Trans, 
of Linn. Soc. v. 13, p. 129 Columba Amboinensis,^wc/. 

THE group or genus to which this species bdongs 
is distributed throughout the Isles of Sonda, th( Mo- 
luccas, the Philippines, and Java, and is also me with 
in Australia ; and, besides the present species con- 
tains the Col. macroura of authors, the Col. mchali 
of Wagler, and the Col. Reinwartii of Temninck. 
Of its precise station in the circle of the (olum- 
bidse, we speak with some degree of dou>1, not 
having had an opportunity of instituting so sttct an 
analysis of the species as the subject require, but 
we believe it will be found to enter among thcPtili- 
nopinae or Arboreal Pigeons, as the feet and trsi of 
its members are similar in form to those of lat di- 
vision, the latter being veiy short and partly lumed 
below the joint, the former with the exteor toe 
longer than the inner, and the hinder toe fitf deve- 



ff UNIVl 


]oped ; the sole of the foot, by the extension of the 
membrane, is broad and expansive, and the claws 
are arched and strong, all of which are characters 
evidently shewing these members to be expressly 
adapted for perching and prehension, and not for gres- 
sorial movements. The bill also in one species (C. 
Reinwartii) approaches in point of strength near to 
that of Vinago^ and in all of them the tip of both 
mandibles is hard and firm, the upper one with a vi- 
sible emargination, and moderately arched. Their 
habits and mode of life are also nearly allied to the 
other arboreal species, being the constant inhabitants 
of the woods, and subsisting upon the fruits and ber- 
ries of various trees and shrubs. 

M. Temminck in his description of this species, 
says that it possesses a structure and form precisely 
similar to that of the Columba migratoria of North 
America. To this we cannot subscribe, seeing that its 
essential characters, as above described, are different, 
and that the only point of resemblance consists in 
the length of the tail. Indeed, so far removed do we 
think it from the American group, that we cannot 
consider it as its analogue in the Asiatic regions 
where it resides. 

In length it measures from fourteen to sixteen 
inches, the tail itself being upwards of seven. The 
wings are short, not reaching when closed above an 
inch and a half beyond the root of the tail, rounded, 
and having the third quill-feather the longest, and 
the first and fourth equal to each other. The bili, 


from the forehead, is nearly three quarters of an inch 
long ; the tip of the upper mandible is moderately 
arched, and having a distinct notch or emargination ; 
that of the under angulated and strong. The throat is 
yellowish- white. The head, the sides, and front of the 
neck, as well as the whole of the under plumage is 
orange-brown. The hinder part of the neck is of a 
rich violet-purple, with brilliant golden reflections, 
changing according to the play of light. The back, 
the wing-coverts, and remainder of the upper plu- 
mage, are of a deep reddish-brown , in some lights 
exhibiting a bronzed gloss. The tail, which is gra- 
duated or of a cuneiform shape, has the two middle 
feathers of an uniform brown, the lateral are marked 
with an oblique transverse bar or black. The feet 
and naked part of the legs are reddish-brown. The 
sole of the hind and inner toes is greatly expand- 
ed, which gives a large and firm base of support 
to the bird when moving amidst the branches of the 

The young differ from the adults, in having the 
neck of a dirty reddish-brown, fasciated with narrow 
bars of black, the abdomen of a pale reddish-grey, 
notched with very minute dark specks, the back in- 
clines more to hair-brown, and the smaller wing-co- 
verts are deeply edged with orange-brown. 

It was first described by M. Temminck in the 
Transactions of the Linnean Society, from a speci- 
men brought from Australia, but has since been found 
in most of the Philippine and Molucca islands, Java, 


&c. It inhabits the woods, and its chief subsistence 
consists of a species of pimento and other warm and 
aromatic berries, all of which it swallows entire. Ita 
flesh, though dark in colour, is reported to be of ex- 
cellent flavour. 




FROM the preceding division or sub-family of Ptili- 
nopinae, we now enter upon that of the Columbinse, 
embracing a vast variety of species, distributed 
throughout every quarter of the globe, and of which 
(as well as of the Columbidse collectively), our native 
Pigeons may be taken as the typical representatives 
This division, for the present, we retain under one 
generic head, as it would be impossible, in a work 
of this brief nature, to enter into the laborious in- 
vestigation necessary to determine and point out 
with precision the subordinate groups into which the 
species may require to be divided. Taking, how- 
ever, the Ring Pigeon,* the Wood Pigeon, j and the 
Rock Pigeon, J as types of form, a great majority of 
the species will be found to possess similar characters 
and habits, and to arrange themselves with them ; 
the remainder, which by gradual modification of 
structure lead to other divisions of the family, and 
support that circular succession of affinities, which 
is shewn to pervade all nature, will then, when the 

* Columba Palumbus. + Columba JEnas. 

Columba livia. 

PIGEON. 125 

difference is carried to the greatest excess, become 
the types of other genera or groups. 

The Pigeons are characterized by a bill of mean 
strength, the tip hard, bulging, and moderately arch- 
ed, the nostrils partly covered and defended by a 
large soft projecting membrane, the orbits more or 
less naked. The feet formed for walking as well 
as perching, the hind toe being of moderate length, 
and the claws so shaped and disposed, as not to in- 
terfere with their progress upon the ground ; the 
outer and inner toes in the typical species are of the 
same length. Their wings are fully developed and 
rather acute, the second and third feathers being the 
longest. The tail is generally square and of mean 

In those species which are the media of connexion 
with other groups, the above characters become 
partially modified, as we see exemplified in the 
species nearest allied to the Ptilinopinae or arboreal 
pigeons, their feet losing the true character of that 
of the Common Pigeon, and assuming more of the 
grasping form than that fitted for progress upon the 

The prevailing colour of the Pigeons is bluish- 
grey, of various intensities and shades, frequently em- 
bellished upon the neck with feathers having a metal- 
lic lustre and peculiar form, and which exhibit various 
tints of colour, according to the light in which they 
are viewed. They are naturally birds of a wild and 
timid disposition (though one species has been partly 

126 PIGEON. 

reclaimed), and usually live congregated in extensive 
flocks, except during the season of reproduction when 
they pair. Most of the species seek their food 
upon the ground. This consists of the different cerea- 
lia, as also acorns, beech-mast, and other seeds, and 
occasionally of the green and tender leaves of parti- 
cular plants. Their flesh is sapid and nutritious, 
being of a warm and invigorating nature. Their 
flight is powerful, very rapid, and can be long sus- 
tained, and many species are in the habit of making 
distant periodical migrations. They are widely dis- 
seminated, species of the genus being found in every 
quarter of the globe, and in all climates except the 
frozen regions of the two hemispheres. They build 
in trees or holes of rocks, making a shallow nest of 
small twigs loosely put together. Their eggs are never 
more than two in number, their colour a pure white, 
these are incubated alternately by both sexes, and 
are hatched after being sat upon from eighteen to 
twenty-one days. The young, upon exclusion, are 
thinly covered with down, which is rapidly succeed- 
ed by the proper feathers. For some time after 
birth they are fed with a milky half-digested pulp, 
disgorged into their mouth by their parents, whose 
" craw, at this period, is furnished with certain 
glands," to aid in reducing their food to this neces 
sary consistency. 

As nearly allied to the arboreal species already de- 
scribed, and connecting them with the typical Pi- 
geons, our next plate represents the 


7 Islands. 


: ;S! 



Columba spadicea. LATH. 

Columba spadicea, Lath. Ind. Ornith. Supp. p. 9, Sp. 7 
Columba geant, Temm. Pig. et Gall. ed. 8vo, p. 94. 

IT is not without a question of doubt we place 
this large and beautiful species in the present divi- 
sion, for although it presents characters in some of 
its members approaching those of the Pigeons, it 
cannot be denied, that, in its general appearance, and 
the metallic lustre of its plumage, it also shews evi- 
dent marks of a near affinity to several species of 
the genus Carpophaga, and it might perhaps with 
equal propriety be placed at the extremity of that 
group. It is a native of the Friendly and other 
islands of the Pacific, and has been accurately de- 
scribed by Latham and Temminck, so far as re- 
gards its plumage ; of its peculiar habits and mode of 
life, we have little information, a deficiency the more 
to be regretted, as, from a minute and correct detail 
of these, we should have been better able to judge 
of its proper position in relation to other species, 
Temminck makes mention of one peculiarity not no- 


ticed by Latham, viz. the subfurcate form of the tail, 
and the rigid consistency of the feathers composing 
it, which he compares to those of the Plotus and the 
Hornbills, but he makes no remark as to any probable 
effect such a structure may have in the economy of 
the bird. From the form and size of the feet, we 
may judge that its habits are more those of an arbo- 
real than terrestrial bird, though its claws want the 
great curvature of those of the Ptilinopinse, and 
shew the capability it has of occasionally resorting 
to the ground in search of food. 

In length the Chestnut-shouldered Pigeon mea- 
sures from nineteen to twenty inches. The head, 
foreneck, and breast, are of a deep green, with a 
rich metallic lustre. The occiput and back part 
of the neck are olive or greenish-brown, with a ru- 
fous tinge ; the abdomen and vent are pure white. 
The mantle, scapulars, and lesser wing-coverts, are 
of a brownish-red, with rich metallic reflexions. The 
greater quills are of a rich purplish-brown, exhibiting 
green reflexions, according to the light in which they 
are viewed. The tail is composed of twelve feathers, 
of which the exterior on each side is a little longer 
than the others, its colour a deep bistre brown, shew- 
ing green and purple reflexions, the tip banded with 
ochraceous yellow ; the under surface is of a pale-grey 
colour, with a green metallic lustre. The bill and 
feet are red. 

Our next plate represents another remarkable spe- 
cies ; it is the 


steel Pig- e oil.) 
V-w Holland. 



Columba dilopha. TEMMINCK. 


Columba dilopha, Temm. in Trans. Linn. Soc. v. 13, p. 124; 
Id. pi Col pi. 162. Wag. Syst. Av. Sp. 11. 

IN this curious species, besides the occipital crest, 
an ornament which is found in many other birds, there 
is an additional one in front, composed of long re- 
curved and lax feathers, which not only occupy the 
forehead, but also the superior part of the soft or 
basal portion of the bill. This double crest gives 
the head of this pigeon a character unlike any of its 
congeners, and more resembling that of some of the 
crested Phasianidse or Cracidae, with which an analo- 
gical relation is thus sustained. In other respects its 
characters agree with those of C. spadicea, the pro- 
portion of the wings and the form of the feet being 
nearly the same. Temminck, who first described it, 
observes, " Cette nouvelle espece a le plus de rap- 
ports dans toutes ses formes, avec la Columba spadi- 
cea, et toutes les deux sont tres peu differentes de 
notre Ramier d'Europe." In the concluding obser- 
vation, we cannot concur to the extent implied by 

\OL. IX. I 


that eminent naturalist ; for, although an approach 
from the Fruit-eating Pigeons or Carpophaga, to 
the true Pigeons, is made by C. spadicea and dilopha, 
still the form of their feet, evidently better adapted 
for arboreal than terrene habits, and their general as- 
pect, are such as to shew that some intermediate form 
is wanting to bring them into that immediate con- 
nexion with the group represented by the European 
Ring Pigeon, which M. Temminck seems to inti- 

In size the Dilopha nearly equals the Chestnut- 
shouldered Pigeon, some specimens measuring near- 
ly eighteen inches in length. The wings are long 
and powerful, reaching, when closed, beyond the 
middle of the tail, the second, third, and fourth fea- 
thers, are the longest, and nearly equal to each other, 
the fifth is shorter than the first. The bill is. of a 
rich orange colour, the tip of the under mandible 
obliquely truncated, that of the upper compressed and 
moderately arched, with a rounded culmen. The 
frontal crest originates on the upper part of the bill, 
immediately behind the horny tip, and above the 
nostrils, and is composed of long arched feathers 
pointing backwards, of a soft and loose texture, their 
colour bluish-grey, tinged with rufous or reddish- 
brown. The occipital crest is also decumbent or 
falls backwards, and is likewise composed of long 

The Columba Trocaz of the Illustrations of Ornitho- 
logy? appears to be one of these intermediate forms. 


soft feathers, with open or decomposed barbules, 
each feather increasing in breadth towards the tip ; 
its colour is a rich reddish-brown. On each side 
from the posterior angle of the eye it is bounded by 
a streak of glossy black. The cheeks and ear-coverts 
are pale reddish-brown, the chin and throat pearl- 
grey. The feathers of the side and fore-part of the 
neck and breast are of a pale grey where exposed, 
but black at the base, their form is trifid, each fea- 
ther having a division or rather separation of the 
vanes at a short distance from the tip, as represented 

in the cut. Upon 
the back part of 
the neck, though 
acuminated, they 
are not distinctly 
divided as upon 
the breast. The 
whole of the back, scapulars, and wing- coverts are of 
a deep bluish-grey, each feather shewing a distinct 
darker margin. The quills and secondaries are 
bluish-black. The whole of the under plumage is 
grey. The tail is square at the end, and nearly seven 
inches long, the basal part and narrow band, pale 
grey, tinged with reddish, the tip and intermediate 
bar black. The naked part of the tarsi and the toes 
are crimson-red, the hind toe strong, with a broad 
flat sole, and longer than the tarsus. The nails are 
long and moderately curved. 


This species is a native of the interior of New 
Holland, and has also been found in Java, but of its 
habits and manners we can give no detailed infor- 
mation, as the notice of the species by its first des- 
cribers has been confined to the limited detail of ita 
dimensions and plumage. 



Columba palumbus LINNAEUS. 

Columba palumbus, Linn. i. 282. sp. 19 Lath. Ind. Ornith. 

ii. 601. sp. 32 Le Pigeon Ramier, Buff. Ois. ii. p. 531. 

t. 24. Id. pi. enl. 316 Temm. Pig. et Gal v. i. p. 78. 
Ring Pigeon, Br. Zool. No. 102 Ring^Dove, Mont. Orn. 
Diet Sdtys Illus. Br. Ornith. i. 406. p. 56. fig. 1. 

IN the title-page vignette of the present volume, 
our readers will recognize an animated representation 
of this indigenous species, taken from a beautiful draw- 
ing by Mr Stewart. It is a bird widely disseminated 
throughout Europe, either as a permanent resident, 
or as a periodical visitant ; in the first state, in all 
those countries where the climate and temperature 
are such as to ensure a constant supply of food, and 
in the latter, in those higher latitudes where the ri- 
gour of winter is severely felt, and the ground for a 
long period remains covered with snow. Of its geo- 
graphical distribution in other quarters of the globe, 
we can only speak with uncertainty, as it is evident, 
that species, bearing a resemblance in form and co- 
lour, have been mistaken for it, and as such record- 


ed in the relations of various travellers. Temminck 
mentions it in his History of the Pigeons, as inha- 
biting parts of northern Asia and Africa, and it is 
known to be a native of Madeira, as well as another 
nearly allied species, lately described in the " Illus- 
trations of Ornithology," under the title of the Co- 
lumba Trocaz. In America it has not yet been re- 
cognized, neither does it appear among the species 
which abound within the tropical latitudes of the an- 
cient world. In Britain it is distributed from one 
extremity of the kingdom to the other, residing per- 
manently with us; for, though subject to a partial 
movement upon the approach of winter, when the 
various individuals scattered over the country collect 
together, and form extensive flocks, no actual migra- 
tion takes place, but these congregated masses still 
keep within their respective districts. The magni- 
tude of these winter flocks, has no doubt suggested 
the idea, that a migration from distant climes to this 
country annually takes place at this season of the 
year, and that the numbers of our native stock are 
thus augmented. We see no necessity, however, for 
supposing this to be the case, nor is it authorised by 
any observed or established fact. The species in 
districts favourable to its increase appears to be suf- 
ficiently numerous to account for the largest bodies 
ever seen assembled together. 

This congregating of the Ring Pigeons takes place 
towards the end of October or beginning of Novem - 
ber, at which time all the autumnal broods have be- 


come fully fledged, and they remain thus united till 
the beginning of February, when the first mild days 
and the genial influence of the ascending sun again 
call forth those instinctive feelings which urge them 
to separate and pair, and each to seek an appropriate 
retreat for the rearing of a future brood. At first 
when thus congregated, they haunt the stubbles, or, 
in districts producing an abundance of beech-mast 
or acorns, the woods and trees ; but as these re- 
sources become exhausted, they resort to the turnip 
fields, the leaves and tops of which root they greedi- 
ly devour. This food now constitutes their princi- 
pal support during the winter and early spring months, 
or until the clover begins to sprout, and the seed-corn 
is committed to the eaith, and it has been observed 
that the increase of the species has been progressive 
with that of the culture of this valuable root. The 
numerous and extensive plantations that of late years 
have been so generally made throughout the island, 
and which, in a young and close growing state, are 
peculiarly favourable to its habits, must also be taken 
into account, and perhaps these tend, in an equal de- 
gree to the cause above assigned, to the rapid in- 
crease of its numbers. When thus united, they re- 
pair to their feeding- ground early in the morning, and 
again in the afternoon before they retire to roost, the 
middle of the day being passed in repose or digest- 
ing their first meal, upon the nearest trees. When 
thus perched, some are always upon the watch, and 


so great is their vigilance, that it is almost impossi- 
ble, by any device, to get within gun-shot. In the 
evening they retire to the woods to roost, preferring 
those of the fir tribe and the ash to any other, and 
in those nocturnal retreats great slaughter is some- 
times committed, by waiting in concealment their 
arrival, which regularly takes place immediately after 

As we have previously remarked, the first mild 
weather in February produces an immediate effect 
upon these congregated pigeons, and we may almost 
calculate to a day when their cooing and plaintive 
murmurs will again be heard in their wonted sum- 
mer haunts. The flocks are now seen daily to de- 
crease in magnitude, and in a short time every wood 
and copse becomes peopled with the numerous pairs 
of this lovely bird. The male soon after commences 
a flight peculiar to the season of courtship and love, 
this is a rising and falling in the air, by alternate 
movements, in which flight, and when at the great- 
est elevation, the upper surfaces of the wings are 
brought so forcibly into contact, as to be heard at a 
considerable distance. Nidification soon follows this 
well-known signal, and by the end of April the young 
in many instances are fully fledged, and ready to quit 
the nest. Few, however, of the early brood, com~ 
paratively speaking, attain maturity, as the eggs at 
this season, from the naked state of the woods, are 
easily discovered by the prying eye and inquisitive 


habits of the cunning magpie and predacious carrion 

The nest of the cushat is a flimsy fabric, being 
a mere platform of small twigs loosely interwoven, 
so open, indeed, that the eggs, in one newly built, 
and before it becomes thickened by the droppings of 
a previous brood, may be seen through it from be- 
neath ; and so slight is the central depression, that it 
frequently happens, where the incubating bird is sud- 
denly disturbed, the eggs, in the hurry to escape, are 
tumbled from the nest, and perish upon the ground. 
The site selected for nidification is various, and no 
tree or bush seems to come amiss at certain periods 
of the year. In early spring, however, and before 
the deciduous trees acquire their umbrageous and 
leafy covering, firs, and other evergreens, are pre- 
ferred, on account of the better concealment and pro- 
tection they afford. From this diversity of site, the 
nest is necessarily placed at various elevations, at 
one time being far removed from the ground, as 
when it is built near the summit of a lofty spruce, 
or in the thick foliage of a beech or sycamore, at an- 
other scarcely out of reach, and but a few feet from 
the earth, as we find it in the holly, the young fir, 
the thorn, or other bushy trees. The eggs, always 
two in number, are white, of an oblong form, and 
rounded nearly equally at both ends. Incubation 
lasts from eighteen to twenty days, and both sexes 
sit alternately, the male taking the place of his mate 
when hunger compels her to quit the nest, and so 


vice versa. When first excluded, the young are 
blind, their skin of a blue or livid colour, thinly co- 
vered with a harsh yellow down. In this tender 
state, they are long and assiduously brooded over by 
the parent birds, and are fed with a milky pulp, eject- 
ed from the crop, where the food undergoes a par- 
tial digestion, preparatory to its being given to them. 
As they gain strength and become fledged, food is 
more frequently supplied, and, consequently, from 
its not remaining so long in the craw of the old bird, 
in a less and less comminuted form, till at length, 
previous to their finally quitting the nest, it is ad- 
ministered in a state but little altered from that in 
which it is first swallowed by the old birds. 

The Ring Pigeon breeds twice in the year, viz. 
in spring, and again in autumn, a cessation taking 
place during the greater part of June and July, be- 
ing a period of comparative scarcity, the seeds of 
such plants as they principally subsist on not having 
then ripened or attained perfection. The autumnal 
brood, on account of the more effectual concealment 
of the nests by the now matured and thick foliage 
of the woods, is always more abundant than that of 
spring, and, in favourable districts, great numbers an- 
nually escape. In certain seasons, the young pro- 
duced in autumn are subject to a peculiar disease, 
which destroys many of them even after they have 
quitted the nest. It appears in the form of large swel- 
lings or impostumes, upon the feet and head, which, 
rapidly increasing, at length deprives them of sight 


and the power of perching, and they perish upon the 
ground, emaciated by hunger and disease. This 
complaint, for many years past, has heen observed 
in the northern districts of the kingdom^ but whether 
it prevails to an equal extent in other parts, we have 
had no opportunity of ascertaining. The flesh of 
both young and old is of good flavour, that of the 
latter being little inferior to the moor-game or grous, 
which it is thought by many to resemble in taste. 
This, however, can only be said of it, so long as the 
bird derives its support from the stubbles, or the 
produce of the forest ; for as soon as a deficiency of 
other food compels it to resort to the turnip field, 
the flesh becomes imbued so thoroughly with the 
strong flavour of the plant, as no longer to be fit for 
the table. Though the Ring Pigeon frequently ap- 
proaches our habitations during the breeding season 
in search of a site for its nest, and almost seems to 
court the vicinity of man, it always evinces a timo- 
rous disposition, and is startled and alarmed by the 
slightest motion or noise. In the winter, and when 
congregated, it becomes still more impatient of ap- 
proach, and is then one of the most wary and watch 
ful of the feathered race* 

Various attempts have been made to domesticate 
the Ring Pigeon, but hitherto without success,* for, 

* We have lately been informed that a pair of Ring Pi- 
geons, in one of the aviaries of the Zoological Gardens, this 
last year built their nest in a tree or shrub contained with- 
in it, and that the female laid two eggs, which unfortunate- 


although they may be rendered very tame when in 
confinement, they shew no disposition to breed even 
by themselves, much less with the common pigeon, 
and upon being set at liberty, soon lose any little 
attachment they may have shewn to the place in 
which they were reared, and betake themselves to 
their natural haunts to return no more. 

Taking the species as a typical example of the re- 
stricted genus Columba, we find the bill of moderate 
strength, the tip without emargination and gently 
arched, the nostrils protected by a soft inflated mem- 
brane ; the wings calculated for vigorous flight, the 
second and third quills being the longest, and near- 
ly equal ; the tail is square or even at the end ; 
the tarsi short, and the feet adapted either for 
perching or walking ; the outer and inner toes are 
of equal length, the hinder rather shorter than the 
tarsus, and not provided with so broad or flat a sole, as 
that of the true arboreal pigeons. In size it is superior 
to the majority of the Columbidae, measuring from 
sixteen to seventeen inches in length. The horny 
part of the bill is orange-yellow, the basal or soft 
part impending the nostrils, covered with a white 
mealy substance. The head, cheeks, throat, neck, 
lower back and rump, are bluish-grey, those of the 
side of the neck glossed with green, and bounded 

ly were destroyed by some accident during incubation. 
This fact shews, that, under favourable circumstances, and 
when the habits of the bird are attended to, a progeny may 
be obtained. 


by a patch of white, which nearly meets behind, and 
forms an imperfect demicollar round the lower and 
back part of the neck. The mantle, scapulars, and 
wing-coverts are deep bluish-grey. The breast and 
belly purplish-red, passing towards the vent and 
under tail-coverts into pale bluish-grey. The outer 
ridge of the wing and a few of the greater coverts 
are white. The quills are blackish -grey, their in- 
terior webs conspicuously margined with white. 
The upper surface of the tail is of a bluish-grey at 
the base, passing gradually into black towards the 
tip. The legs and feet are purplish-red. The 
irides yellowish-white. 

Our next plate represents the 



Columba cenas LINN. 

Columba cenas, Linn. Syst. 1. 279. 1. B Lath. Ind. On. 

2. 589. sp. 1 Briss. Orn. v. 1. sp. 6 Colombe colombin. 

Temm. Pig. et Gal. 1. 118 Id. Man. tfOrnith. 2. p. 445. 

Stock Dove, Illus. Br. Orn. 2. 408. pi. 56. f. 1. 

OF inferior size, but nearly allied in habits and 
manners, we now present our readers with the figure 
of a species, which, till of late years, by most of our 
writers, was confounded with the rock pigeon, the 
original stock of our common pigeon, or at least had 
its history so mixed up with the descriptions of that 
bird, as to render its individuality and specific dis- 
tinction a matter of considerable doubt. Brisson 
appears to have been the first who accurately point- 
ed out the distinctions between the two, and he has 
since been followed by Temminck, who, in his ge- 
ni i ral history of the pigeons, and his excellent and 
useful Manual of Ornithology, has so clearly mark- 
ed its distinctive characters, and described its habits, 
as to render it almost impossible even for a very tyro 
to confound or mistake the one with the other. 

Like the previously described species, it is indi- 



.-,1 Pigeon.) 
Native of Europe. 


genous, but its distribution is much more limited in 
extent, being confined to the southern and midland 
counties of England, and to such districts only as 
are well clothed with wood ; for, possessing arboreal 
habits, it is never found inhabiting those localities 
affected by the Columba livia (rock pigeon), such 
as the caverns of rocks, ruinous edifices, &c. Du- 
ring the spring and summer, it is distributed in pairs 
throughout the woods, where it breeds, sometimes in 
the decayed hollows of the ivy-mantled trunks, at 
others on the forks or amidst the higher branches of 
the trees. The nest is similar to that of the ring 
pigeon, and its two white eggs, though inferior in 
size, present the same oblong form. Two broods 
are annually produced, the first in spring, the se- 
cond after midsummer, a period of rest or recruiting 
of the vital forces taking place between the end of 
May arid the middle of July. As autumn advances, 
the various broods begin to congregate, and soon form 
flocks of great magnitude, which continue assembled 
during the winter, and are sometimes seen com- 
mingled with bodies of their larger congener the 
cushat. In parts of France, Germany, and the 
northern kingdoms of Europe, it is a migratory spe- 
cies, and a summer or polar visitant, the late au- 
tumnal and winter months being passed in warmer 
latitudes, where a due supply of food can then be 
found. In disposition it shews a timidity and watch- 
fulness equal to that of any other species, particular- 
ly during the winter monihs, when associated in 


troops. Its food consists of grain of all kinds, pulse, 
acorns, bcechmast, &c., and like the cushat, when 
pressed by hunger, it frequently resorts to the tur- 
nip fields to devour the tender leaves and tops of 
that plant. Its flesh by Temminck is said to be of 
exquisite flavour, and far superior to that of the ring 
pigeon, but this perhaps may only be at certain pe- 
riods, and when feeding upon some peculiar food. 

Near as it approaches the common pigeon in size 
and form, no mixed breed that we are aware of has 
ever been obtained between them, although repeated 
attempts to effect an intercourse have been made. 
This in our mind appears a strong and convincing 
proof, that all the varieties, generally known by the 
name of Fancy Pigeons, have originated from one 
and the same stock, and not from crosses with other 
species, as some have supposed, the produce of 
which, even could it be occasionally obtained, we 
have no doubt would prove to be barren, or what 
are generally termed mules* 

In length the Wood Pigeon measures about four- 
teen inches, and in extent of wing nearly twenty-six. 
The head, cheeks, and throat, are pale bluish-grey. 
The feathers upon the sides and back part of the 
neck imbricated, of a fine green, changing into pur- 
ple, or bronzed green in different lights. The lower 
part of the foreneck and breast are pale vinous, or 
purplish grey, passing into pale grey, which colour 
obtains over all the lower parts of the body. The 
mantle and scapulars are grey, with a brownish 


tinge, the lesser wing-coverts, the lower part of the 
exterior webs of the secondary quills, lower back and 
rump, are pale bluish-grey. Upon the two second- 
ary quills nearest the body, and upon some of the 
greater coverts, a spot of black confined to the exte- 
rior webs, but not forming any defined bar, as in the 
Rock Pigeon. Tips of the secondary and the greater 
quills greyish-black. The tail is grey at the base, 
with a fainter bar immediately adjoining the black 
tip. The exterior feather on each side, with the 
basal part of its exterior web, white. Under surface 
with the bar more distinctly defined. Wings when 
closed reaching within an inch of the end of the tail. 
The horny part of the bill is pale orange, the legs 
and toes red, the claws brownish- black, strong, and 
moderately arched, the hinder part of the tarsi, as in 
the Ring Pigeon, are covered with very small scales. 
The tarsi longer than the middle toe. 
Our next plate represents the 




Columba lima. LATH. 

Columba livia, Lath. Ind. Orn. v. 2. 390. sp. 2. v. E.Briss. 
Orn. 82. sp. 3 Colombe Biset, Sauvage, Temm. Pig. 

8vo. edit. ]. p. 125 Id. Man. d^Ornith. 2. 446 Biset 

and White-Rumped Pigeon, Lath. Ind. 4. 605. 2. A 

Rock-Dove, Mont. Orn. Diet. Id. Sup Selby's Illus. 

Br. Orn. 2. 410. pi. 56. f. 2 The Common Pigeon or 
Wild Dove, Low's Faun. Oread, p. 52. 

ROCKY and precipitous cliffs, particularly those of 
the sea-coast perforated by caverns, either originat- 
ing in the nature of the rock itself, or worn and hol- 
lowed out by the action of the waves, are the appro- 
priate retreats of the pigeon in its wild or natural 
state. In this condition it possesses a very exten- 
sive geographical distribution throughout the mari- 
time districts of the world, being abundant in most 
of the Rocky Islands belonging to Africa and Asia, 
and in those of the Mediterranean, where it swarms 
in incredible numbers. Upon our own coasts it is 
found wherever the nature of the barrier suits its 
habits, extending as far as the Orkneys, where Low 
describes it as the inhabitant of all their numerous 

PLATE 12. 



and extensive caves, retiring to their inmost recesses, 
and generally beyond the situations selected for ni- 
dification by the auks, gulls, and other aquatic fowl. 
It is also met with upon the northern and western 
coasts of Sutherland, the perforated and cavernous 
rocks which gird the eastern side of Loch Eriboll, 
and those of the limestone district of Durness, fur- 
nishing suitable places of retreat, and again upon the 
eastern coast of Scotland, it is seen about the rocky 
steeps of the Isle of Bass, and the bold promontory 
of St Abb's Head. 

The supposition of many of our ornithologists 
that this and the preceding species were identical, 
has led to considerable confusion in their writings, 
and produced a mixed sort of description strictly ap- 
plicable to neither. The distinctions, however, be- 
tween the species, even in regard to plumage, are 
such, that, if attended to, no mistake can well arise, 
and if accompanied by a corresponding attention to 
their respective habits, the difference becomes still 
more apparent and convincing. In one we have a 
bird the frequenter and inhabitant of the woods, 
where it roosts, breeds, and perches with security 
and ease upon the trees, like the ring pigeon and 
other arboreal species ; in the other, an inhabitant of 
caves and the holes of rocks, and which is never 
known, under any circumstance, to affect the forest 
or perch upon a tree. 

But the rock or wild pigeon is better known to 
our readers as the inhabitant of the pigeon-house, 


or, as it is frequently called, the dove-cot, buildings 
erected expressly for the purpose of containing colo- 
nies of these birds. In this state, where they enjoy 
a perfect freedom of action, and are nearly depend- 
ant upon their own exertions for support, they can 
scarcely be called reclaimed, much less domesticated. 
Man, indeed, has only taken advantage of certain 
habits natural to the species, and by the substitution 
of an artificial for a real cavern, to which the pigeon- 
house may be compared, has, without violating or at 
least greatly infringing upon its natural condition, 
brought it into a kind of voluntary subjection, and 
rendered it subservient to his benefit and use. Vast 
numbers of young pigeons in various parts of the 
world are by this system annually produced and 
rendered available as a wholesome and nutritious 
food, as well as a source of considerable profit to the 
proprietors of these edifices. 

Various practical treatises upon the management 
of the dove-cot, and other details connected with 
it, are already before the public, and to them we 
must refer our readers for further information, as the 
limited nature of the present work will not admit of 
such copious extracts as would be necessary to em- 
brace all the respective details. It may not, how- 
ever, be out of place to advert to a few of the prin- 
cipal objects to be considered, by those who contem- 
plate the erection of a pigeon-house ; and first in re- 
gard to the form of the building. The most ap- 
proved is that of a circular tower, as it affords ad- 


vantages not possessed by the square, giving an 
easier access to the breeding birds to their nests, 
and a greater facility of taking the young, and in- 
specting and clearing out the holes, by means of a 
ladder turning upon an axis. Around the interior 
of the tower, about three or four feet from the bot- 
tom, a horizontal ledge of eight or ten inches in 
width ought to project, in order to prevent rats, 
weasels, and other vermin, destructive to the eggs 
and young, from scaling the walls and entering the 
pigeon-holes, and if this ledge be covered on its un- 
der surface with tin or sheet-iron, it will the more 
effectually prevent the entrance of such intruders. 
A second ledge of less width, and about midway up 
in a pigeon-house of considerable height, may also 
be of advantage, not only for additional security 
against enemies, but as a resting-place for the pigeons 
when they enter the house. The holes or nests are 
best built in quincunx order, and not directly over 
one another, and they ought to be sufficiently large 
to allow the old birds to move in them with freedom, 
and to stand upright, in which position they always 
feed their young. 

Frequent attention to the state of the holes is ne- 
cessary, and they ought regularly to be inspected 
and cleansed after each great flight, that is, towards 
the end of May, and again before winter. The 
dung accumulated at the bottom of the house should 
also be removed every three or four months, as the 
effluvium which arises from it when in a large mass, 


arid in a state of fermentation, is injurious to the 
health of the birds, and also prevents them making 
use of the lower tiers of nest-holes. In point of si- 
tuation, a gentle acclivity, exposed to the south, and 
open to the rays of the sun, in which the pigeon de- 
lights to hask and repose, is the most favourable. 
It ought not to be too far removed from a plentiful 
supply of water, as the pigeon is a great and frequent 
drinker ; neither too closely surrounded by trees, as, 
when near, they interfere with the free egress and 
ingress of the birds, and are supposed to be disagree- 
able to them, from the noise they make in winds 
and storms. The pigeon being a bird of a timid na- 
ture, and easily alarmed, the house should stand at 
such a distance from all the other offices, as not to 
be incommoded by any noise or movements about 
them. From a pigeon-house of tolerable dimensions, 
a produce of many dozens of young may annually be 
procured, and that for nearly eight months out of 
the twelve, as they are in full breeding from March 
till the end of May, and again from August till the 
close of November ; and all that is required to keep 
up the breeding stock, is to permit a limited portion 
of the latter hatchings to escape. 

In its natural state, the plumage of the pigeon is 
as follows : Bill blackish-brown ; the nostril mem- 
brane red, sprinkled, as it were, with a white powder. 
The irides pale reddish-orange. The head and throat 
are bluish-gray. The sides of the neck and upper 
part of the breast are dark lavender- purple, glossed 


with shades of green and purplish-red. The lower 
part of the breast and abdomen are bluish-gray. The 
upper mandible and wing-coverts are blue-gray. 
The greater coverts and secondaries are barred with 
black, and form two broad and distinct bars across 
the closed wings. The lower part of the back is 
white ; the rump and tail-coverts bluish-gray. The 
tail is of a deep gray, with a broad black bar at the 
end. The legs and feet are pale purplish-red. 
When closed, the wings reach within half an inch of 
the end of the tail. 

It is under this species that we include not only 
the common pigeon, or inhabitant of the dove-cot, 
but all those numerous varieties, or, as they are fre- 
quently termed, races of domesticated pigeons, so 
highly prized, and fostered with such care and at- 
tention by the amateur breeder or pigeon fancier ; 
for, however diversified their forms, colour, or pecu- 
liarity of habit may be, we consider them all as hav- 
ing originated from a few accidental varieties of the 
common pigeon, and not from any cross of that bird 
with other species, no signs or marks whatever of 
such being apparent in any of the numerous varie- 
ties known to us. In fact, the greater part of them 
owe their existence to the interference and the art 
of man ; for, by separating from the parent stock 
such accidental varieties as have occasionally oc- 
curred, by subjecting these to captivity and domes- 
tication, and by assorting and pairing them together, 
as fancy or caprice suggested, he has at intervals ge- 


nerated all the various races and peculiar varieties, 
which, it is well known, when once produced, may 
be perpetuated for an indefinite period, by being 
kept separate from, and unmixed with, others ; or 
what, by those interested in such pursuits, is usual- 
ly termed " breeding in and in." Such also, we may 
add, is the opinion of the most eminent naturalists, 
as to their origin, and it is strongly insisted on by 
M. Temminck in his valuable work, the Histoire 
Generale Naturelle des Pigeons. Indeed, the fact, 
that all the varieties, however much they may differ 
in colour, size, or other particulars, if permitted, 
breed freely and indiscriminately with each other, 
and produce a progeny equally prolific, is another 
and a convincing proof of their common and self- 
same origin ; for it is one of those universal laws of 
nature, extending even to plants, and one which, if 
once set aside or not enforced, would plunge all ani- 
mated matter into indescribable confusion, that the 
offspring produced by the intercourse of different, 
that is, distinct species, is incapable of further in- 
crease. That such an intercourse may be effected, 
is well known to all ; but it is generally under pe- 
culiar or artificial circumstances, and rarely when the 
animals, birds, or whatever they may be, are in their 
natural state, and in a condition to make their own 
election. It is seen in the crosses obtained, in a 
state of confinement, between the canary and gold- 
finch, linnet, &c. ; in the hybrids produced between 
different species of the Anatidae when domesticated, 


or kept in captivity ; in the cross between the phea- 
sant and common fowl, &c. But in all these in- 
stances, the progeny are invariably mules, and inca- 
pable of further production ; for although they may 
exhibit the passions natural to the sexes, and the fe- 
male may even produce eggs, these, with every care, 
are always found addled, and incapable of being 
hatched. Such, we may add, is the case with hy- 
brids of some of the crosses themselves ; for the 
bastard produce of the common wild turtle (Turtur 
communis) with the turtle of the aviary (Turtur ri- 
soria), has been proved, by frequent experiment, to 
be barren *, although the two species from whence 
it originates appear to be closely allied, and a mixed 
breed is easily procured ; and such, we have no he- 
sitation in saying, would be the event, if a cross 
could be obtained between the common pigeon and 
the ring-pigeon, the wood-pigeon, or any other 

* In the history of the " Pigeons de Voliere," by MM. 
Boitard and Corbi, under the head of the "Turterelle des 
Bois," these authors mention the fact of the cross-breed 
between it and the Tourterelle a collier, and the sterility of 
the offspring. " Le mentis," they add, " s'accouplent entre 
eux, ou avec des individus a collier ou des bois: ils se 
caressent avec la meme ardeur, pondent et couvent leur 
ceufs avec la meme solicitude, et cependant ces ceufs 
n'e'clorent jamais, sans doute faute de germe. Cette ex- 
pe'rience faite par Mauduyt, par Vieillot, et avec une es- 
pece d'obstination par mon collaborates M. Corbie*, a tou- 
jours eu le meme resultat." 


To describe or particularize all the varieties cul- 
tivated by pigeon fanciers, would require a volume 
of itself; as, in addition to the permanent races, or 
those which, when kept pure, transmit their likeness 
to their offspring, there are intermediate forms, pro- 
duced by particular crosses between individuals be- 
longing to the different varieties, which, though high- 
ly prized in the first generation, are not considered 
worthy of further cultivation, as their produce can- 
not be depended upon, but is found to degenerate, 
and liable to run into still more distant and less 
valued varieties. We must therefore confine our 
remarks to a few observations upon the mode of 
treatment, and the means adopted to perpetuate and 
keep pure such races or varieties as are held in the 
highest estimation by the amateur, and then present 
our readers with the figures and description of three 
or four of the most remarkable deviations from the 
original type of the species. 

Domestic or fancy pigeons are generally kept con- 
fined in aviaries, or lodged in appropriate buildings 
attached to or near the house of the breeder, in or- 
der that they may be regularly and easily fed, cleans- 
ed, and duly attended to in all matters having refer- 
ence to their condition and health ; for their natural 
instinct and their feeling of liberty have been so 
nearly effaced, or placed in abeyance by the capti- 
vity to which they have been subjected for so many 
generations, that they have become nearly depend- 


ent upon man for support, and have lost the power 
or capability, even when allowed to fly at large, of 
looking for and finding their own food, insomuch 
that, if left to themselves, they would in all likelihood 
perish from hunger and want. In these buildings, 
it is usual to erect a certain number of boxes or di- 
visions against the walls or sides, each calculated to 
accommodate a pair of pigeons, with their nest and 
young. They are best when separated and distinct 
from each other, with a small platform, and an en- 
trance just large enough to admit the bird ; as, when 
disposed in a continuous row, and open in front, the 
birds are apt to interfere with each other, and, by 
their jealousies and contentions, to prevent the due 
increase of eggs and young. To ensure the purity 
of any particular kind, the young males, as soon as 
they shew symptoms of maturity, which is known 
by particular gesticulations and their cooing-notes, 
are placed apart in a chamber constructed for the 
purpose, with a female of the same variety. Here 
they remain till a mutual attachment has taken place, 
after which they may be returned to the general 
aviary or dove-house ; for, when once an alliance is 
effected, it generally continues undissolved and in- 
violate till the death or removal of one of the parties ; 
on which account many different varieties may be 
kept in the same aviary, or associated together in 
one building, without much apprehension of having 
a contaminated breed. 


Among the numerous varieties cultivated by tho 
pigeon fancier, the following list embraces such as 
are held in particular estimation, viz. the Roman, 
Rough- footed, Crested, Norway, Barbary, Jacobine, 
Laced, Turbit, Broad-tailed and Narrow-tailed Shaker, 
Tumbler, Helmet, Turkish or Persian, Carrier, Horse- 
man, Pouter, Smiter, Turner, and Spot pigeons. 
The first variety we present to our readers is the 



Columba var. tremula latecauda. WILL. 

Pigeon paon, Buff. PL Enl. 13. Pigeon trembleur paon, 
Boitard et Corbie, Monographic des Pig. Domes, p. 224. 
Broad-tailed Shaker, Will. Orn. p. 181. 

THIS curious variety, remarkable for the number 
of its tail-feathers, which, in some individuals, have 
been known to amount to upwards of forty, possesses, 
at the same time, the power of erecting it in the 
manner of a turkey cock, during which action, and 
particularly when paying court to its mate, it trem- 
bles or shakes, like the peacock when moving about 
with his train expanded and in full display. Tins 
power of spreading and erecting the tail is not, how- 
ever, confined to the male bird, but is possessed to 
an equal extent by the female, who resembles the 
male in every respect. In size it is inferior to most 
of the varieties, and is farther characterized by hav- 
ing a short, slender bill, pendant wings, and naked 
legs and feet. It is not very prolific, and seldom 
succeeds so well in the aviary or pigeon-house as 
most of the other kinds ; and, from the size and 
position of fts unwieldy tail, flies awkwardly, and 


is apt to be carried away or overset by the wind. 
To retain all the characters above mentioned, it is 
necessary to keep the breed perfectly pure, as any 
cross is certain to dimmish one or more of the pe- 
culiar qualities of the race. The ordinary appear- 
ance of the fan- tail is white, or white with a black 
head and tail. It is also frequently seen with the 
mantle and tail affecting the various colours which 
prevail in domestic pigeons, as dark and light blue, 
reddish-brown, &c. The female of this variety, 
crossed with the male glou-glou, or Tambour Pigeon, 
produces the Narrow-tailed Shaker or Quaker, in 
which the number of the tail-feathers decrease, as 
well as the power of spreading and erecting it. The 
trembling action, however, remains unabated. 

Our next plate represents a variety not less re- 
markable ; it is the 



Columba cucullata Jacobina.~WiLi,. 

Pigeon Nonnain capucin, Monog. des. Pig. Domes, p. 135. 

THIS curious variety, which, as transmitting to its 
posterity a form precisely similar, with all the pecu- 
liar characters undiminished, comes under the desig- 
nation, among 1 pigeon fanciers, of a pure or perma- 
nent race, is distinguished hy a remarkable ruff or 
frill of raised feathers, which, commencing behind 
the head, and proceeding down the neck and breast, 
form a kind of hood, not unlike that worn by a 
monk ; and from its resemblance to which it has ob- 
tained its Gallic trivial name of Nonnain capucin. 

In size it is one of the smallest of the domestic 
pigeons, but its form is light and elegant. The bill 
is very short ; the eyes surrounded with a moderate 
circle of naked red skin. The legs are unplumed. 
The head, the wings, and the tail, are always white. 
The usual colour of the hood is reddish-brown, with 
iridescent tints. The mantle, the wing-coverts, and 
the breast, are reddish-brown. It is also sometimes 
seen with the mantle and wing-coverts of a very 


deep red, spotted with black. Another variety, of 
a uniform pale fawn-colour, is not unfrequent ; but 
that most highly prized is entirely of a pure and 
glossy white. It is a very productive species, and, 
having its flight considerably impeded by the size 
and form of its hooded pile, keeps much at home, 
and is well adapted for the aviary or other buildings 
where pigeons are kept confined. 
Our next plate represents the 



Columba var. Gutturosa subrubicunda. 

Columba (var.) gutturosa subrubicunda. Pigeon grosse 
gorge soupe en vin, Monog. des Pig. Domest. p. 173. 

THE faculty of inflating the oesophagus, to a li- 
mited extent, appears to be possessed by the pigeon 
and all its varieties, and is no doubt in some way 
connected with and essential to its economy ; but 
in this variety it is developed to an extraordinary 
extent, far exceeding that of any of its congeners, 
and can only be considered as resulting from a mon- 
strous or unnatural formation of the gullet. In what 
is considered the pure, or most esteemed examples of 
this sort, that is, where this power is the greatest, 
the oesophagus, when fully inflated, sometimes equals 
the body itself in dimensions. As might be sup- 
posed, this peculiarity subjects the bird to many in- 
conveniences, and frequently to fatal accidents, for 
when thus puffed out to its full extent, the bird, in 
order to sustain its centre of gravity, is obliged to 
keep in an upright or nearly perpendicular position, 



with the head thrown far back, which prevents if 
from seeing any thing directly before it, and causes 
it to become an easy prey to the hawk or other ene- 
mies. It is also unable, in consequence of this con- 
strained attitude, to defend itself from the attacks of 
other pigeons, who, by a single stroke of the bill, 
frequently pierce the inflated craw, and give it a mor- 
tal wound. But in addition to accidents from exter- 
nal enemies, it is also liable to a disease in this part, 
which generally proves fatal in the course of a few 
days. This always attacks them when they happen 
to have a young brood, and is produced by the re- 
iterated and severe efforts they are obliged to make, 
in order to bring or cast up the partially digested 
food necessary for their support. For by those oft 
repeated and violent attempts, the muscles of the 
(Esophagus or craw, weakened in all probability be- 
forehand by the constant inflation of tae parts, oe- 
come paralyzed and lose their power of contraction ; 
and the crop being no longer able to discharge its 
proper digestive functions, inflammation ensues, 
which is rapidly succeeded by ulceration, and a pe- 
riod is soon put to the life of the bird. On this ac- 
count, added to its unproductiveness, it holds but a 
secondary place in the estimation of the amateur, al- 
though, in point of appearance, it is as singular, and 
in regard to beauty and diversity of plumage, equal 
to any of the other races. 

It is found of all the various colours incident to 
domestic pigeons, though the reddish-brown is per- 


haps the most prevalent among the English breeders. 
The horseman pigeons, another esteemed variety, are 
supposed to have originated from a cross between 
the Powter and the great Roman Pigeon. 
Our next plate is the 



Columba Turcica. 


Columba Turcica vulgaris. Pigeon Turc ordinaire, Mo- 
nog, des Pig. Domest. p. 188 Carrier Pigeon. 

IN England, the pigeon generally known by the 
name of the Carrier, appears to belong to this race, 
as it possesses all the characteristics of the Columba 
Turcica of authors, viz. great size, a bill tuberculated 
at the base, and the eyes surrounded with a broad 
circle of naked red skin, elevated tarsi, and wings 
reaching nearly to the end of the tail. This name, 
however, according to the authors of the " Mono- 
graphic des Pigeons Domestiques," is improperly ap- 
plied, and ought to be appropriated to a very differ- 
ent variety, which they designate in their interest- 
ing work as the Columba tabellaria, or race of " Pi- 
geons volans." This, in contradistinction to the 
Turkish variety, is of small size, without tuberculat- 
ed nostrils, and the circle around the eye small and 
narrow. In point of fecundity and productiveness, 
it surpasses any other race, and shews a still greater 
attachment to the place of its birth, a fact in proof 

PLATE 16. 

( Turkish, or Mawmet Pig-eon.) 


of its superior claim to the title in dispute, as it is 
the excessive development of this instinctive feeling 
that urges the Carrier, when transported from its na- 
tive habitation, even to a distance of many hundred 
miles, to wing its way back without stop or delay, 
the moment it is uncaged and set at liberty. Its 
flight is also very rapid and generally at a high ele- 
vation, particularly when employed as a messenger, 
and at a great distance from home. Upon such oc- 
casions its first essay is to attain a high altitude by 
a series of circular evolutions. This accomplished, 
it instinctively darts off in the direction of its native 
home, as if guided by the compass, and acquainted 
with the true bearings of the place it seeks to re- 

The pigeon, and we may presume the variety, 
thus adverted to by MM. Boitard and Corbie, as to 
it may be referred all the figures depictured in the 
monuments of the ancient sculptors, representing 
Venus as attended or drawn in a car by doves, has 
from the earliest ages been employed as a messenger 
to convey information between distant points, where 
unwonted celerity and despatch were required. Thus 
we read of it as conveying the welcome intelligence 
of succour and relief to besieged cities, of battles 
lost or won ; and in the poetry and tales of the East, 
it is frequently described as the appropriate bearer 
of a lover's vows to his distant mistress. Even at 
the present day, it is still employed where extraor- 
dinary despatch is required, and in Holland, France 


and other countries, the race is kept uncontaminated 
and pure. The Turkish variety, or that represented 
in our Plate, on the contrary, possesses none of the 
qualifications requisite for a speedy messenger, its 
flight heing slow and heavy, from its superior size 
and weight, nor is it distinguished by any extraordi- 
nary attachment to the place of its birth. It is 
therefore probable, that the name of earner has been 
given to it more on account of its oriental origin, 
where the pigeon was first made use of in this way, 
than for any real fitness for such an office. It is 
among the largest of the domestic pigeons, and is re- 
markable for the tubercles which grow upon the soft 
or membranous part of the bill, and the breadth of 
the naked skin encircling the eye. It is of various 
colours, but the dark-blue or red-brown predomi- 

We shall now take our leave of the Columba livia 
and its varieties, and proceed to describe other inte- 
resting members of the family. 

The next extensive division of the Columbidse we 
have to notice, is that of the Turtles, or Ectopistina, 
adopting the term from the genus Ectopistes, insti- 
tuted by Mr Swainson for the reception of the Co- 
lumba migratoria of authors, which, in all probability, 
from the great development of its wings, tail, &c. 
will prove the typical form of the group. They are 
distinguished from the pigeons by a general inferior- 
ity of size, by a bill of weaker conformation, by the 


comparative length of their toes, the inner in this 
section being longer than the outer toe ; whereas in 
the true pigeons they are of equal length, and by the 
form of the tail which is more or less graduated, be- 
ing merely rounded in the common Turtle, and gra- 
duated to an extreme degree in the Passenger Pigeon 
(Ectopistes migratoria). The passage from the pi- 
geons to the turtles is by an easy gradation of form, 
and is effected by such species as the Columba Le- 
vaillantii of Wagler, which in external appearance 
bears a close resemblance to the Turtur risorius of 
South Africa, but retains the bill and feet of the pre- 
ceding group. A great similarity exists in their ha- 
bits and manners, and, like most of the true pigeons, 
they are gressorial as well as arboreal birds, their 
feet being equally adapted for walking or grasping. 
They seek their food upon the ground, and subsist 
upon the different cerealia, pulse, &c. They repose, 
roost, and nidificate upon trees, and, like the pigeons, 
lay but two eggs each hatching. Few of the minor 
groups, or genera, or by whatever name the lowest 
assemblage of species may be denominated, have yet 
been characterised. We may point to the turtles or 
group containing the common Turtle Dove, the do- 
mestic Turtle, &c. as one ; another, as we have above 
stated, is represented by the Passenger Pigeon of 
America ; a third seems indicated by the Columba 
humeralis of Temminck, the Columba erythrauchen 
of Wagler, in which the wings are comparatively 
hort and rounded, having the first quill-feather ab- 


ruptly narrowed towards the tip, as in genus Ptili- 
nopus, and as it also exists in several members of 
the ground doves or Partridge Pigeons. The Co- 
lumba Capensis of authors, and Columba Macquarrie 
of Lesson, also appear to possess characters which 
in all probability will separate them from the fore- 
going groups, and it is by these and some other 
nearly allied forms, that a passage to the next divi 
sion or Ground Doves is effected. 



THE birds belonging to this group are distin- 
guished by their bill, which is slenderer in its pro- 
portions than that of the Pigeons. The tip of the 
upper mandible is gently deflected, that of the lower 
scarcely exhibiting an appearance of an angle. Legs, 
the tarsi rather shorter than the middle toe. Feet 
formed for walking or perching, the inner toe longer 
than the outer. Front of the tarsi covered witli 
broad imbricated scales. Wings, the first quill a 
little shorter than the second, the third the longest 
of all. Tail rounded, or slightly graduated. The 
Turtles are inferior in size to the Pigeons, which 
they closely resemble in their habits. They feed 
upon the ground, but roost and breed in the 

As an example of the genus, we present our read- 
ers with a figure of the well known 



Turtur risorius. 

Columba risoria, Auct Turtur torquatus Senegalensis, 
Briss. 1. p. 124. t. 11. f. 1 Colombe blonde, Temm. Pig. 

1. p. 323 Tourterelle a collier, Buff. PL Enl No. 244 

Boitard et Corbie. Monog. des. Pigeons^ p. 236. pi. 25. 

FROM a very remote period this species appears 
to have been domesticated, or rather kept in that 
state of captivity in which it is retained at the pre- 
sent day; for there is every reason to suppose that 
the turtle dove adverted to in Holy Writ may be re- 
ferred to the same bird, as it is still abundant in 
Egypt and other parts of the East, where it is fos- 
tered and cultivated with care, and it is certain that 
many of the representations in the works of ancient 
art, where the dove figures as the emblem of tender- 
ness and affection, or where it is depicted as the ap- 
propriate attendant of Venus, are accurate delinea- 
tions of the Collared or domestic Turtle. 

This bird does not appear to be susceptible of 
that attachment to its home or place of birth, fur 
which the common or Dove-cot Pigeon is remark- 



m ? - 




able, and which peculiar quality renders that species 
so serviceable to man. On the contrary, like its 
congener the common or wild European turtle (Tur- 
tur communis), it cannot be left to range at perfect 
liberty, without the danger of its flying away to re- 
turn no more, and must therefore be kept constant- 
ly confined either in cages or in aviaries adapted for 
the purpose. In this state of captivity, if properly 
attended to, it breeds with facility, sometimes pro- 
ducing as many as eight broods within the year ; 
but, being a native of warm climates, and very im- 
patient of cold, it is seldom cultivated to the same 
extent in this country as it is in those where the 
temperature is better adapted to its constitution. 
The male shews great tenderness and affection to 
his mate, and is constantly by her side, soothing her 
with caresses, or paying his court by soft cooing 
notes, and that peculiar cry so expressive of laugh- 
ter, and from which it takes its specific name. 

In its wild or natural state, it is found in various 
parts of Africa, and we have by us specimens from 
the southern part of that continent, a description of 
which, as varying in depth and intensity of colour 
from the domestic variety, is here subjoined. The 
length is about ten inches. The chin is whitish, from 
the corners of the mouth to the eyes, is a narrow 
streak of black. The forehead is pale bluish-gray ; 
the crown darker ; the cheeks, neck, breast, and 
belly gray, tinged with vinaceous or pale purplish- 
red ; the hind neck with a demi-collar of black, some 


of the side feathers composing it being tipped with 
white. The hack scapulars and rump are of a pale 
clove-brown, with a greenish tinge. The margins 
of the wings, the greater coverts, and under wing- 
coverts, are blue gray. The greater quills are hair- 
brown, delicately edged with grayish-white. The 
tail is slightly rounded, the two middle feathers en- 
tirely clove-brown, the remainder on each side with 
the basal half black, the tips bluish-gray, except 
those of the two outermost, which are white. The 
vent and under tail- coverts are white ; the legs and 
feet gray ; the inner toe a little longer than the outer. 
In its natural state, it inhabits the woods, where it 
breeds, making a nest similar to that of the common 
turtle, and lays two white eggs. It seeks its food 
in the open grounds, and subsists upon grain, grass- 
seeds, pulse, &c. It is easily distinguished, and the 
place of its retreat soon discovered by its cooing- 
notes, one of which we have already stated to re- 
semble the human laugh. 

A mixed breed is sometimes obtained between 
this species and the common wild turtle, but the 
progeny are invariably mules, and incapable of far- 
ther increase, a fact that has been established by 
many careful and oft- repeated experiments, and one 
which affords a strong argument against the suppo- 
sition, that many of the varieties of the common 
pigeon, or of the domestic fowl, are the result of a 
mixture of different species. 


Besides the wild turtle known to us as a regular 
summer visitant in the southern districts of England, 
the Columba maculicollis and the Columba aurita 
of Temminck, and several others belong to the group, 
of which the present species may be considered a 

Our next Plate represents a beautiful species, 
which we shall call the 



Turtur? lophotes. 

Columba lophotes, Temminck, PI. Col. pi. 142, Le m&le 
Wdgler, Syst. Av. sp. 103. 

THE general contour of this bird, as well as the 
form of its bill and feet, plainly indicate its near re- 
lationship to the turtles, among which we have pro- 
visionally placed it, though it is likely it may form, 
in conjunction with the Columba humeralis of Tem- 
minck, and some other species, in which the tail is 
long and considerably graduated, a separate or sub- 
generic group. It is distinguished from all its con- 
geners, and rendered remarkable by its long occipi- 
tal crest, which, in form as well as in the quality of 
the feathers of which it is composed, exactly resem- 
bles that of the common Peewit f Vanellas cristatus). 
Its native country is Australia, and it inhabits the 
interior and mountainous districts of that interesting 
country ; but we regret to add, that of its peculiar 
habits and economy we have no detailed accounts, 
a loss the more to be regretted, as it is from our 
knowledge of these that the proper position of the 


\. : 


species, in relation to the other Columbidae, can be 
satisfactorily ascertained. The following is a de- 
scription of the plumage of the adult male. 

The bill, which is small and slender, is black. 
The head, neck, and the whole of the under plum- 
age, pale gray ; the hind neck slightly tinged with 
lavender-purple. Crest horizontal, composed of se- 
veral long acuminated narrow feathers, of a grayish- 
black colour. Back and lesser wing- coverts inclin- 
ing to clove-brown, each feather terminated with 
yellowish-brown, and having a transverse black bar. 
Greater coverts of a shining metallic green, 6nely 
edged with white. Secondaries with their exterior 
webs of a metallic purple, spotted with black ; the 
exterior webs and greater quills blackish-gray. Low- 
er back, rump, and two middle tail-feathers, umber- 
brown ; the rest of the tail violet, with a green me- 
tallic lustre ; the tips of tbe feathers white. 



The characters of this group, as given by Mr 
Swainson, who first separated the members belong- 
ing to it from the Turtles, are as follows : Bill 
slender, the tip of the upper mandible emarginated. 
Wings sub- elongated and pointed, the first and third 
quills equal, the second the longest. Tail rounded 
or cuneated. Legs short, naked. The tarsi scaled 
as in genus Turtur. 

Our next Plate represents the well known 



EC topis tes migrator ia. SWAINSON. 

Columba migratoria, Auct. Passenger Pigeon, Wils. Amer. 
Ornith. pi. 44, fig. l.Aud. Ornith. Biog. p. 319, pi. 62. 

AMONG the few groups of the Columbidae already 
characterized, is that of Ectopistes, a genus astitut- 
ed by Mr Swainson, for the reception of the Colum- 
ba migratoria and Columba Carolinensis of authors, 
birds which, though nearly allied in other characters, 
are distinguished from the rest of the turtles by the 
greater length of their wings and tail, those essential 
organs of motion, the extra development of which 
necessarily indicates an economy and mode of life 
different from that of those species where these 
members are comparatively short, and differently 
proportioned. The subject of our present Plate is a 
native of the North American Continent, where it 
occupies a very extensive range between the twen- 
tieth and sixtieth degrees of N. latitude, and is not 
less remarkable for living at all times, even includ- 
ing the period of incubation, associated in flocks of 
countless myriads, than for its migrations, which, 

VOL. ix. M 


unlike those of other birds, whose movements are 
considerably affected by temperature, are not under- 
taken, at any fixed period or season of the year, or 
frozen or cold, to a warmer climate, but are entirely 
regulated by the supply or want of food ; for Audu- 
bon, in his interesting account of this bird, remarks, 
" It sometimes happens, that a continuance of a suf- 
ficient supply of food in one district will keep these 
birds absent from another for years. I know at 
least to a certainty, that, in Kentucky, they re- 
mained for several years constantly, and were no 
where else to be found. They all suddenly disap- 
peared one season, when the mast was exhausted, 
and did not return for a long period." 

Their power of flight, indicated by the length of 
their wings and tail, is very great ; and, indeed, with- 
out a locomotive gift of extraordinary extent, it 
would be impossible for such countless numbers as 
are seen associated together to exist ; for the supply 
of food in the immediate neighbourhood of their 
roosting resort or their breeding-places, when they 
are necessarily engaged for months together, soon 
becomes exhausted, and they have frequently to tra- 
verse each day an immense distance in quest of a 
further supply. This is proved by facts narrated by 
Wilson in his graphic history of this bird, as well as 
by Audubon, who mentions the extraordinary cir- 
cumstance, that " pigeons have been killed in the 
neighbourhood of New York, with their crops full of 
rice, which they must have collected in the fields of 


Georgia and Carolina, these districts being the near- 
est in which they could possibly have procured a 
supply of that kind of food/' The distance between 
these points is stated to be between three and four 
hundred miles ; and, as the decomposition of their 
food is completely effected in twelve hours, this 
space must have been travelled within the short pe- 
riod of five or six hours. 

The account of their roosting and breeding places 
is too curious to be omitted ; we therefore make no 
apology for quoting at length Wilson's description 
contained in the American Ornithology. " The 
roosting-places are always in the woods, and some- 
times occupy a large extent of forest. When they 
have frequented one of those places for some time, 
the appearance it exhibits is surprising. The ground 
is covered to the depth of several inches with their 
dung ; all the tender grass and underwood destroyed ; 
the surface strewed with large limbs of trees, broken 
down by the weight of the birds collecting one above 
another ; and the trees themselves, for thousands of 
acres, killed as completely as if girdled with an axe. 
The marks of their desolation remain for many years 
on the spot ; and numerous places could be pointed 
out, where, for several years after, scarcely a single 
vegetable made its appearance. When these roosts 
are first discovered, the inhabitants, from consider- 
able distances, visit them in the night, with guns, 
clubs, long poles, pots of sulphur, and various other 
engines of destruction. In a few hours they fill many 


sacks and load horses with them. By the Indians, a 
pigeon-roost or breeding-place is considered an im- 
portant source of national profit and dependence for 
that season, and all their active ingenuity is exercised 
on the occasion. The breeding-place differs from the 
former in its greater extent. In the western coun- 
tries, viz. the States of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, 
these are generally in back woods, and often extend 
in nearly a straight line across the country for a 
great way. Not far from Shelbyville, in the State of 
Kentucky, about five years ago, there was one of 
these breeding-places, which stretched through the 
woods in nearly a north and south direction, was se- 
veral miles in breadth, and was said to be upwards 
of forty miles in extent ! In this tract almost every 
tree was furnished with nests wherever the branches 
could accommodate them. The pigeons made their 
first appearance there about the 10th of April, and 
left it altogether with their young before the 25th 
of May. As soon as the young were fully grown, 
and before they left the nests, numerous parties of 
the inhabitants, from all parts of the adjacent coun- 
try, came with waggons, axes, beds, cooking uten- 
sils, many of them accompanied by the greater part 
of their families, and encamped for several days at 
this immense nursery. Several of them informed 
me that the noise was so great as to terrify their 
horses, and that it was difficult for one person to 
hear another speak without bawling in his ear. The 
ground was strewed with broken limbs of trees, eggs, 


and young squab pigeons, which had been precipi- 
tated from above, and on which herds of hogs were 
fattening. Hawks, buzzards, and eagles, were sail- 
ing about in great numbers, and seizing the squabs 
from the nests at pleasure ; while, from twenty feet 
upwards to the top of the trees, the view through 
the woods presented a perpetual tumult of crowding 
and fluttering multitudes of pigeons, their wings 
roaring like thunder, mingled with the frequent crash 
of falling timber ; for now the axemen were at work, 
cutting down those trees that seemed to be most 
crowded with nests, and contrived to fell them in 
such a manner, that, in their descent, they might 
bring down several others > by which means, the fall- 
ing of one large tree sometimes produced 200 squabs, 
little inferior in size to the old ones, and almost one 
heap of fat. On some single trees, upwards of a hun- 
dred nests were found, each containing one squab 
only ; a circumstance, in the history of this bird, not 
generally known to naturalists. It was dangerous to 
walk under these flying and fluttering millions, from 
the frequent fall of large branches, broken down by 
the weight of the multitudes above, and which, in 
their descent, often destroyed numbers of the birds 
themselves ; while the clothes of those engaged in 
traversing the woods were completly covered with 
the excrements of the pigeons. These circumstances 
were related to me by many of the most respectable 
part of the community in that quarter ; and were 
confirmed, in part, by what I myself witnessed. I 


passed for several miles through this same breeding- 
place, where every tree was spotted with nests, the 
remains of those above described. In many instances 
I counted upwards of ninety nests on a single tree, 
but the pigeons had abandoned this place for ano- 
ther, sixty or eighty miles off towards Green River, 
where they were said at that time to be equally nu- 
merous. From the great numbers that were con- 
stantly passing over our head to or from that quar- 
ter, I had no doubt of the truth of this statement. 
The mast had been chiefly consumed in Kentucky : 
and the pigeons, every morning, a little before sun- 
rise, set out for the Indiana territory, the nearest 
part of which was about sixty miles distant. Many 
of these returned before 10 o'clock, and the great 
body generally appeared on their return a little after 
noon. I had left the public road to visit the re- 
mains of the breeding-place near Shelbyville, and was 
traversing the woods with my gun, on my way to 
Frankfort, when, about 1 o'clock, the pigeons which 
I had observed flying the greater part of the morning 
northerly, began to return, in such immense num- 
bers as I never before had witnessed. Coming to 
an opening by the side of a creek, called the Benson, 
where I had a more uninterrupted view, I was asto- 
nished at their appearance. They were flying with 
great steadiness and rapidity, at a height beyond gun- 
shot, in several strata deep, and so close together, 
that, could shot have reached them, one discharge 
could not have failed of bringing down several indi- 


viduals. From right to left, as far as the eye could 
reach, the breadth of this vast procession extended, 
seeming every where equally crowded. Curious to 
determine how long this appearance would continue, 
I took out my watch to note the time, and sat down 
to observe them. It was then half-past one ; I sat 
for more than an hour, but instead of a diminution 
of this prodigious procession, it seemed rather to in- 
crease, both in numbers and rapidity ; and anxious 
to reach Frankfort before night, I rose and went on. 
About four o'clock in the afternoon I crossed Ken- 
tucky River, at the town of Frankfort, at which time 
the living torrent above my head seemed as numerous 
and as extensive as ever. Long after this, I observed 
them in large bodies, that continued to pass for six or 
eight minutes, and these again were followed by other 
detached bodies, all moving in the same south-east 
direction, till after six o'clock in the evening. The 
great breadth of front which this mighty multitude 
preserved would seem to intimate a corresponding 
breadth of their breeding-place, which, by several 
gentlemen who had lately passed through part of it, 
was stated to me at several miles." 

After a few additional observations, our author 
proceeds to give a rough estimate of the numbers of 
the above mentioned mighty flock, and the quantity 
of food necessary for its daily support. " If," he 
says, " we suppose this column to have been one 
mile in breadth (and I believe it to have been much 
more), and that it moved at the rate of one mile in 


a minute, four hours, the time it continued passing, 
would make its whole length 240 miles. Again, 
supposing that each square yard of this moving hody 
comprehended three pigeons, the square yards in the 
whole space multiplied by three, would give two 
thousand two hundred and thirty millions, two hun- 
dred and seventy-two thousand pigeons ! an almost 
inconceivable multitude, and yet probably far below 
the actual amount. Computing each of these to 
consume half a pint daily, the whole quantity at this 
rate, would equal seventeen millions four hundred 
and twenty-four thousand bushels per day !" 

This wonderful account of the roosting and breed- 
ing places of the Passenger Pigeon, is corroborated 
in every point by Audubon, who, in his delightful 
work the " American Ornithological Biography," 
has added various other particulars connected with 
its history, which want of space alone prevents us 
adverting to ; we cannot, however, pass over some of 
his observations on the mode of flight of these birds. 
" It is," he remarks, " extremely interesting to see 
flock after flock performing exactly the same evolu- 
tions which had been traced as it were in the air by 
a preceding flock. Thus, should a hawk have 
charged on a group at a certain spot, the angles, 
curves, and undulations that have been described by 
the birds, in their efforts to escape from the dreaded 
talons of the plunderer, are undeviatingly followed 
by the next group that comes up. Should the by- 
stander happen to witness one of these affrays, and, 


struck with the rapidity and elegance of the motions 
exhibited, feel desirous of seeing them repeated, his 
wishes will he gratified, if he only remain in the 
place until the next group comes up." 

His description of their evolutions, when a supply 
of food has been discovered, is also highly graphic. 
" As soon as the Pigeons discover a sufficiency of 
food to entice them to alight, they fly round in circles, 
reviewing the country below. During their evolu- 
tions on such occasions^ the dense mass which they 
form exhibits a beautiful appearance, as it changes 
its direction, now displaying a glistening sheet of 
azure when the backs of the birds come simultane- 
ously into view, and anon, suddenly presenting a 
mass of rich deep purple. They then pass lower 
over the woods, and for a moment are lost among 
the foliage, but again emerge, and are seen gliding 
aloft. They now alight, but the next moment, as if 
suddenly alarmed, they take to wing, producing, by 
the flapping of their wings, a noise like the roar of 
distant thunder, and sweep through the forests to see 
if any danger is near. Hunger, however, soon brings 
them to the ground. When alighted, they are seen 
industriously throwing up the withered leaves in 
quest of the fallen mast. The rear ranks are con- 
tinually rising, passing over the main body, and 
alighting in front, in such rapid succession, that the 
whole flock seems still on wing. The quantity of 
ground thus swept is astonishing, and so completely 
has it been cleared, that the gleaner who might fol- 


low in their rear, would find his labour completely 

Beech-mast and acorns, produced in incredible 
quantities by the primeval American forests, consti- 
tute a great proportion of the food of these birds ; 
but great quantities of buckwheat, hempseed, Indian 
corn, rice, hollyberries, hackberries, and other small 
fruits, are also consumed in their respective seasons. 

They commence breeding early in spring, and are 
said to produce two or three broods in the year, each 
hatching, according to Wilson, consisting of a single 
young one. Audubon, however, mentions, that they 
lay two pure white eggs, of a broadly elliptical form, 
and further adds, " It is a remarkable fact, that each 
brood generally consists of a male and female." 
Judging from analogy, and the habits of other near- 
ly allied species, we are inclined to think that Wil- 
son, who does not profess to have ascertained the 
fact from observations made by himself, must have 
been misinformed upon this point by those who gave 
him the information. The nest is composed of slen- 
der twigs loosely put together, and, like that of the 
Ring Pigeon or Turtle, has little or no concavity. 
Upon the approach of the breeding season, the male 
pays court to the other sex by sundry and oft-re- 
peated gesticulations, accompanied by cooing notes, 
and the billing observed in many other species is also 
practised by them. The flesh of the old birds is of 
a dark colour, and rather hard and dry. The young 
or squabs, are, however, stated to be excellent, and 


before they leave the nest, or are left by their pa- 
rents to seek their own food, are loaded with fat. 
This is frequently melted down in large quantities 
for culinary purposes, by those who are near enough 
to profit by the plunder of a breeding station of this 
remarkable bird. 

The form of the Passenger Turtle is graceful and 
elegant. The wings are long and acuminate, having 
the second quill-feather exceeding the others in 
length. The tail is greatly cuneiform or graduated, 
and consists of twelve tapering feathers. The bill is 
of a black colour, and similar in form to that of the 
turtle, and the legs, which are purplish-red, are short 
and strong. The iris is of a bright orange-red, the 
naked orbit purplish-red. The head and cheeks are 
pale bluish-grey, the fore-neck, the breast, and sides 
of a brownish-red, with a purplish tinge. The ab- 
domen and vent are white. The lower part and 
sides of the neck are of a purplish-crimson, reflect- 
ing tints of emerald green and gold. The upper 
plumage is of a deep bluish-grey, some of the scapu- 
lars and wing-coverts spotted with black. The greater 
coverts are grey, tipped with white. The quills are 
blackish-grey, with their exterior webs bluish- grey. 
Tail, with the two middle feathers, entirely black, 
the other five on each side grey at the base, with a 
black bar on the interior arch, and passing into white 
towards the extremities. The female is rather in- 
ferior in size, and has the colours of her plumage 


much duller than those of the male, though the dis- 
tribution is the same. 

Another American species, the Columba Caroli- 
nensis of authors, also belongs to this genus. 

Our next plate represents a beautiful, though di- 
minutive, species, which we have provisionally placed 
under this genus, though it is probable, from its geo- 
graphic distribution, and that of another species dis- 
covered by Freycinet, as well as from some differ- 
ences of structure, tliat it will eventually be found 
the type of a distinct group. It is the 

E T T F I S T 1-: S ? f AP ETC S I S . 

Eclopistes ? Capensis. 


Columba Capensis, Aitct. Columba atrogularis, Waff. Syst. 
Av. sp. 108. Tourterelle a cravatte noire du Cap. de B. 

esp. Buff. PL Enl. p. 140 Colombe tourtelette, Temm. 

Pig. 8vo, i. p. 366. pi. 53 Id. PL Coloriees, Jeune male, 
pi. 341. fig. 2. 

THE great length of the tail of this pretty species, 
which of itself measures six inches, gives it an ap- 
pearance of bulk, which it does not in reality possess, 
as the body scarcely exceeds that of the common 
lark in size. Its wings are moderately long, and 
reach, when closed, to about the third the length of 
the tail ; the second quill-feather rather exceeds the 
fiK-, and is the longest in the wing. The tail is 
greatly cuneated, and, like that of the Passenger 
Turtle, consists of twelve feathers, the tips of which 
are rounded, except the two middle ones, which are 
generally worn to a point. The bill Is very slender, 
without emargination, and the upper mandible very 
gently deflected towards the tip. r /he tarsi and 
toes are short, the claws blunt, and but little hooked, 
shewing it to be partly ambulatory in its habits. 


Another species very nearly allied to the present 
has lately been discovered in Australia, to which the 
name of Columba Macquarrii has been given ; and 
the Columba venusta of Temminck's Planches Co- 
loriees also appears referable to the same group, or 
at least may be considered as its analogue in South 

The Cape Turtle, as its name implies, is common 
around that district of Southern Africa, and is also 
met with in Senegal, Senegambia, and Nubia. Of 
its habits and manners we have no detailed account, 
except that it makes its nest in low trees and shrubs, 
and lays two white pellucid-looking eggs, very fra- 
gile and easily broken. The male, as represented 
on the plate, has the forehead, the region around the 
base of the bill, the chin, throat, and central part of 
the breast, intense black. The crown of the head, 
the region of the eyes, the sides of the neck and 
breast, flanks, and lesser wing-coverts, are of a pale 
French-grey; the middle of the abdomen, thighs, 
and vent, are white. The lower part of the hind 
neck and back are of a pale hair-brown. Two of 
the greater wing-coverts, and the secondary quill 
nearest the body, have a large spot of violaceous or 
metallic purple upon their outer webs. The greater 
quills are rich orange-brown, with the exterior webs 
and tips brownish-black. The under coverts of the 
wings are orange-brown, the long axillary feathers 
and under tail-coverts black. Upon the rump are 
two black bars, with an intermediate one of pale 


grey. Tail, with the two centre feathers grayish- 
brown from the base half-way up, and then passing 
into black, those on each side rapidly graduated, 
bluish-gray at the base, with a broad black fascia 
near their tips, which are gray. Bill and feet yellow. 
Extreme length from the tip of the bill to the end of 
the tail nearly ten inches. 

The colours of the female are more sordid, and 
the forehead and chin, instead of being black, are 
nearly white ; the metallic spots upon the wings are 
also less, and her tail shorter. 

The young, instead of the black throat and breast, 
have these parts brown, barred with white. The 
feathers of the back and wing-coverts are also barred 
with black, and terminated with white and reddish- 
white, and the crown of the head is hair-brown, the 
feathers margined with reddish-brown. The fore- 
head and chin are white. 

The next division, to which we direct the atten- 
tion of our readers, is that of the Ground Doves, or 
PeristerincB) distinguished from the preceding groups 
by their terrene habits, and their evident approach, 
in many points, to the more typical Rasores or Gal- 
linaceous Birds. In these the bill is rather slender, 
frequently subemarginate, and the tip of the upper 
mandible but gently deflected ; the wings are gene- 
rally short and rounded, and in many instances con- 
cave, as we see them in the partridge, grous, &c. 
The legs are considerably longer than in the typical 


pigeons ; the tarsus usually exceeding the middle toe 
in length, and the feet are better adapted for walk- 
ing than grasping ; the claws are ohtuse, and slight- 
ly arched. The hallux shorter, and its relative posi- 
tion different from that of the arboreal species. Their 
plumage is plainer and more uniform in tint than 
that of some of the preceding groups, though it still 
bojists of brilliancy in those species which connect 
them with other forms. They live almost entirely 
upon the ground, and many of the species run with 
great celerity, on which account they have been call- 
ed Partridge Pigeons. Their flight, which is usu- 
ally low, is effected with greater exertion than that 
of the Pigeons, and is never long sustained. 

This division contains a great number of species, 
and when better investigated, will be found divisible 
into a variety of minor groups or genera. Mr Swain- 
son has already characterized two, viz. Chcemepelia, 
which embraces the diminutive Ground Doves of 
America, and Peristera, which contains the smaller 
Columbi-Gallines of the French naturalists, distin- 
guished by their lengthened tarsus and gallinaceous 
habits, and which are found inhabiting Africa, as 
well as America and its islands. We also include 
in this division the Bronze-winged Dove of Austra- 
lia, and other kindred species, such as the Columba 
elegans of Temminck, and Columba picata of Wag- 
ler, to which we propose to give the generic name 
of Phaps, an appellation formerly bestowed by the 
Greeks upon some species or variety of pigeon. 


This group is distinguished by a longer bill, very 
faintly emarginate, and by its tarsi, which are mode- 
rately long and naked, with the frontal scales divided 
into two series, and the sides and hinder part reticu- 
lated with minute scales. Another group seems in- 
dicated by certain Asiatic species, conspicuous for 
the rich metallic green of their dorsal plumage, simi- 
lar to that of some of the Ptilinopinse. These have 
the tarsi destitute of scales, except a few indistinct 
ones in front, just above the junction of the toes 
Their bill rather long, and destitute of the notch. 
They live mostly upon the ground, but possess con- 
siderable powers of flight. Of this latter group the 
Columba super ciliosis of Wagler may be taken as 
the type. 




Is characterized by a bill of moderate length, ra- 
ther slender, the upper mandible gently deflected at 
the tip, and shewing an indication of a notch or 
emargination. Wings of mean length, the second 
and third feathers the longest, and nearly equal. 
Tail slightly rounded. Legs, the tarsi as long as the 
middle toe, the front covered with a double row of 
scales, the sides and hinder part reticulated with 
small hexagonal scales. The hind toe or hallux 
short ; the inner toe exceeding the outer in length. 
Claws blunt, and slightly arched. Type Columba 
chalcoptera, Lath. To this group the Columba ele- 
gans of Temminck and Columba picata of Wagler 

Our next figure represents the 



Phaps chalcoptera. 

Columba chalcoptera, Lath. Ind. Ornith. 2. 604, sp. 39 
W'dgler, Syst. Av. sp. 57 Columba Lumachelle, Temm. 
Pig. 8vo, p. 103, pi. ,22. 

ALTHOUGH this species cannot vie in richness 
and diversity of plumage with many of the pigeon 
tribe, yet there are few whose general appearance 
gives greater satisfaction or pleasure to the eye. 
This appears to be the result of the effect produced 
by the metallic splendour of the spots upon the wing- 
coverts (which, in different lights, emulate the opal, 
the ruby, and the sapphire in brilliancy), as contrast- 
ed with the pleasing though subdued tint of the rest 
of the plumage. 

The Bronze-winged Dove is a native of Australia, 
and many of the islands of the Pacific. It affects 
sandy and arid situations, and is usually seen upon 
the ground, or sometimes perched upon the low 
branches of the shrubs that grow in such situations. 
It breeds in the holes or decayed stumps of trees 
near the ground, arid not unfrequently upon the sur- 


face of the earth itself, making a very inartificial 
nest, and laying two white eggs. It is usually seen 
in pairs, and the place of its retreat is readily dis- 
covered by its loud and sonorous cooings, which, at 
a distance, are said to resemble the lowings of a cow. 
Its chief food consists of a berry resembling a cherry, 
the stones of which are generally found in its sto- 
mach, during its abode around Sidney, which ap- 
pears to be there restricted to the breeding season, 
as it is only met with in that district from the month 
of September till February. 

In size it equals our Wood Pigeon, measuring 
about 15 inches in extreme length. The bill, from 
the corners of the mouth, is nearly one inch, of a 
black colour, reddish towards the base. The fore- 
head, the sinciput, the streak beneath the eyes, and 
the throat, are white. The crown hair-brown, with 
a reddish tinge, surrounded with a broad fillet of 
dusky cochineal red. Cheeks and sides of neck blu- 
ish-gray. Lower part of fore neck and breast pur- 
plish gray. Abdomen and vent gray, slightly tinged 
with pale lavender-purple. Back, scapulars, rump, 
and upper tail -coverts, hair-brown, with a greenish 
tint in some lights, each feather margined paler. 
Lesser and greater wing-coverts bluish-gray, the ex- 
terior webs each with a large ovate metallic spot, 
exhibiting various tints, according to the light in 
which it is viewed. Quills hair-brown on the upper 
surface ; the inner surface of the inner webs deeply 
margined with pale reddish-orange, which is also 


the colour of the axillary feathers and under wing- 
coverts. Tail bluish-gray, with a broad black fascia 
about an inch from the top, slightly rounded. Legs 
red, with two rows of scales in front, the sides reti- 

The next group we have to notice is the 



THE characters of which are : Bill slender, en- 
tire, the upper mandible gently deflected at the tip. 
Wings rounded, the first and fourth feathers of equal 
length, and a little shorter than the second and third, 
which are also equal ; second, third, and fourth fea- 
thers, with their exterior web sinuated, the fourth 
with the middle of its inner web strongly toothed. 
Tail rounded. Tarsi of nearly equal length with the 
middle toe. The paratarsia or exterior side of the 
tarsus with a line of small feathers. 

Type Columba Talpicoti Temminck. The mem- 
bers of this genus are natives of Continental Ameri- 
ca, and its islands, and, with the exception of the 
Columba Hottentotta of Temminck, an African and 
nearly allied form, are the most diminutive of the 
Pigeon tribe, several of the species scarcely exceed- 
ing a sparrow in bulk. The wings are rounded, 
though of ample extent, and the quill-feathers very 
large arid broad ; and, in all the species we have 
examined, the fourth feather exhibits a remarkable 
tooth or projecting notch near the middle of the in- 
ner web. They inhabit the confines of woods and 
bushy tracts, and are generally seen in pairs or small 
families. They live much upon the ground, where 


they walk and run with great facility, and their flight 
is low, usually in circling sweeps. They nidificate 
upon low trees and shrubs, making a flimsy nest of 
small twigs, and lay two spherical white eggs. 

As a specimen of this group, our next Plate re- 
presents the 



Chcemepelia Talpicoti. SWAINSON. 

Columba Talpicoti, Temm. Pig. 8vo. 1. p. 121 W'dglev, 
Syst. Av. sp. 86. Colombe-Galline Talpicoti, Temm. 

THIS diminutive species, which only measures 
about six inches and a quarter in length, is pretty 
widely distributed throughout Brazil, Paraguay, and 
other districts of South America. It lives in the 
open grounds, but generally near to the confines of 
woods, as it roosts and breeds upon the lower bushes 
or underwood, but never upon the larger trees, or 
far from the ground. It is generally observed in 
pairs, sometimes in families of four or six, but never 
associated in large flocks. It appears to be of a 
tame disposition, as it is seen constantly about the 
confines of the houses or in the farm- yards, and 
readily admits of a near approach. Wagler observes, 
that, in Europe, it is easily kept and propagated in 
the aviary. It is active upon the ground, and feeds 
upon the smaller cerealia, berries, &c. 

The following is the description of the adult male. 
Forehead, crown, and nape of neck, ash-gray. Cheeks 

rruglnous Ground Dove.) 
Native of Brazil. 


and throat pinkish -white. Upper plumage entirely 
brownish-orange, with the exception of a few trans- 
verse streaks of black upon the exterior webs of 
some of the wing-coverts nearest the body. Under 
plumage deep vinaceous red. Axillary feathers and 
part of under wing-coverts black. Tail with the 
two middle feathers brownish-orange, the remainder 
brownish -black, with reddish-brown tips, moderate- 
ly curvated. Bill and orbits bluish-gray. Legs and 
toes pale red, the outer side of the tarsus with a row 
of small feathers down the line of junction between 
the acrotarsia and paratarsia. Quills broad, the 
fourth with a large projecting notch towards the 
middle of the inner web. The fe- 
mal' has the crown of the head of a 
sordid gray. The upper plumage o. 
a wood-brown, tinged with red ; the 
scapulars and wing-coverts marked 
as on the male. Under plumage dirty 
gray, tinged with pale purplish -red. 
Another species, the Chcemepelia 
Picui, in the colour of the plumage 
greatly resembles the female Talpi- 
1 coit. The wing-coverts are more 
I deeply tinged with red, and the black 
I bars upon them ratherbroader. The 
whole of the under wing-coverts, as 
well as the greater quills, are black. 
The tail is moderately rounded, with 
the margin of the exterior feathers 


white. In size it exceeds the Talpicoti, measuring 
full seven inches in length. The fourth quill-feather 
is notched, and the tarsus feathered as in the other 
species. The toes are stronger and shorter. 

The Columba passerina of authors, and the Co- 
lumba minulay belong to this genus. 



THIS well-marked group was first characterized 
by Mr Swainson, in the third volume of the Zoolo- 
gical Journal, and embraces a variety of species, na- 
tives of America and the West India Islands. To 
it we are inclined to add, at least for the present, a 
few species belonging to the African Continent, as 
they appear to possess characters precisely analogous, 
and are distinguished by similar habits and manners. 
In this group, an evident and near approach is made 
to the true Gallinaceous Birds, both in regard to 
form and economy. They have wings of a like shape, 
being rounded and concave when expanded, like 
those of a partridge. Their legs are considerably 
longer than in the Typical Pigeons, and naked ; and 
the feet formed for walking or running. From their 
habits and general appearance, the French naturalists 
have distinguished them from the other Columbidse 
by the name of Colombi-Gallines, as expressive of 
their near affinity to the other families of the Raso- 
rial Order; and they stand, together with other 
groups, as a separate section in Temminck's valuable 
History of the Pigeons. They live and procure their 
food upon the ground, where they walk and run 
with facility ; but most of the species retire to low 


trees or shrubs to roost. Their flight is generally 
low, of short continuance, and by quick repeated 
strokes of the wings. Many make their nest upon 
the ground, others upon low bushes ; and it is be- 
lieved that all lay but two eggs each hatching, in 
which respect they resemble the more Typical Pi- 

Their generic characters are as follows : Bill 
slender, the tip of the upper mandible slightly de- 
flected, with a distinct emargination. Wings round- 
ed, concave, the first quill short, and, in some in- 
stances, abruptly attenuated ; third and fourth fea- 
thers the longest, and nearly equal ; exterior webs 
of the second, third, and fourth quills deeply sinua- 
ted. Legs, the tarsus as long as or longer than the 
middle toe, the front covered with a row of large 
imbricated scales, the sides and hinder part naked. 
Toes entirely divided, the inner toe longer than the 
outer. Claws moderately arched, blunt. Tail slight- 
ly rounded. 

The first we have to notice is rather an aberrant 
form of the group, and appears to be one of the con- 
necting links which more immediately unites it with 
the turtles ; it is the 


>iLiid Dove.) 
N a Live of S.AfnCii . 

, OF THE . 




Peristera tympanistria. 

Columba tympanistria, Temm. Pig. PL 36 Id. 8vo, i. 28. 
Wagler^ Syst. Av. 1. sp. 102 La Tourterelle Tambou- 
rette, Le Vaill. Ois. cTAfric. 6, p. 61. Columba tambou- 
rette, Temm. Pig. 287. 

So called, from the loud cooing notes of the male, 
which at a certain distance resemble the sound of a 
tambourine. It is a native of South Africa, from 
whence we have obtained specimens ; but it appears 
by no means plentiful, as M. Le Vaillant informed 
M. Temminck, that, for two hundred specimens of 
another species, he could only obtain twenty seven 
of this. In the rounded and concave form of the 
wings, it agrees with the rest of the group, and the 
first quill-feather is attenuated near the tip, as in 
Peristera Jamaicensis, &c. The bill, however, does 
not exhibit so distinct an emargination, and the sides 
of the tarsi, though smooth, indicate an appearance 
of minute scales. It is said to inhabit the woods, 
but as no detailed circumstances relating to its ha- 
bits are recorded, we are unable to judge whether 
its economy is more in accordance with that of the 


Turtles, or the present genus. It is a neat and 
clean looking bird, the whole of the upper plumage 
being of a bistre -brown, slightly tinged with grey up- 
on the neck. Upon the outer webs of three or four of 
the greater wing-coverts are large spots of lustrous 
blackish -green. The middle tail-feathers are umber 
brown ; the two exterior on each side gray, with a 
broad black bar near the tip. The greater quills have 
their inner webs deep brown. The forehead, streak 
over the eye, and under plumage, is pure white. 
The under wing-coverts and sides are pale orange- 
brown ; under tail-coverts umber-brown. The bill 
and legs are gray, the latter slightly tinged with 
red. In length it measures nearly nine inches, 
Our next plate represents the 


re of Jamaica. 



Peristera Jamaicensis. * 


Columba Jamaicensis, Lath. Ind. Ornith. 2, 595 ep. 8.- 
Temm. Pig. 8vo, p. 411 Columba rufaxilla, Wagler, 
Syst. Av. sp. 69. Columbe-Galline front gris, Temm. 
Pig. pi. 10 White-bellied Pigeon, Lath. Syn. 4, 619, 8. 

IN this species we again have the curious attenua- 
tion of the first quill feather, which, as already men- 
tioned, exists in several species belonging to diffe- 
rent groups of the Columbidae, in other respects, but 
distantly connected with each other. In the rest of 
its characters, it agrees with those we have given of 
the genus, the bill being emarginated, the wings 
rounded and concave, and the sides and hinder part 
of the tarsi perfectly smooth. It is found in the 
island of Jamaica, and is also widely distributed 
throughout South America as far as the River Plate. 
It inhabits wooded districts, and is seen perched 
amidst the low thick bushes, where it conceals itself 
and roosts, or else upon the ground where it obtains 
its food, and where it walks and runs with great ac- 
* Named on the Plate P. rufaxilla. 


tivity and quickness. Its flight is very low, and 
amidst the shrubs, as if endeavouring to conceal it- 
self, and is never long sustained. It is usually ob- 
served alone or in pairs, rarely in families or small 
flocks. It feeds upon the seeds of various grasses, 
maize, &c., and is also supposed to devour berries 
and small fruits. 

In length it measures about twelve inches. The 
forehead, the chin, and throat, are hoary white. The 
crown and nape of neck deep greenish -gray, tinged 
with purple. The sides and hinder part of the neck 
deep vinacious-red, with rich red lilac-purple and 
golden-green reflections. Whole of the under plu- 
mage white, tinged with vinacious-red upon the fore- 
neck and breast. Upper plumage pale umber-brown, 
with a slight tinge of oil-green. The three exterior 
feathers on each side of the tail gray, tipped with 
white, the middle feathers greyish-brown. First 
quill-feather suddenly narrowed towards the tip. 
Basal part of the inner webs of the quills, and the 
whole of the under wing-coverts, pale orange-brown. 
Bill black, five-eighths of an inch long. Legs and 
toes reddish, the claws blunt and short. Tarsus one 
and an eighth inch long. 

The next bird we have to notice is the 


Native Of tlic We1 1" 



Peristera Martinica. 


Columba Martinica, Auct. Columbe-Galline rouxviolet, 
Temm. Pig. 8vo, p. 400. Columba cuprea, Wagler, Syst. 
Av. sp. 76. 

IN form, as well as in its habits, this species of 
Ground Dove approaches so near to some of the 
Tetraonidse, as to have acquired in the West Indies 
the name of the Mountain Partridge. It inhabits 
elevated and rocky districts, where it runs with 
great quickness, emulating in this respect the typi- 
cal Rasores. Its legs are long as compared with 
those of the Pigeons, and are bare a little above the 
tarsal joint, characters indicative of its terrene habits ; 
its wings are also short and rounded, and the tail 
not so long as that of the species already described. 
Its flight is consequently low, and by quick repeated 
strokes of the pinions, like that of the Common Par- 
tridge or Pheasant. It lives constantly upon the 
ground, except during the time of repose, when it 
perches upon the lowest limbs, or the stump of a 
decayed tree. In its mode of nidification and breed- 



ing, it also shews a nearer approach to the true gal- 
linaceous birds, for its nest is not fixed or built like 
that of the species we have described, in a tree or 
bush, but upon the surface of the ground. The num- 
ber of its eggs, however, are only two, but the 
young are said to become sooner fledged, or at least 
able to follow their parents, than those which nidifi- 
cate at a distance from the ground. In general they 
are found in families, or associated in larger covies, 
and in disposition are described as wild and not easily 

In length this bird measures about nine inches. 
The bill, which is red, is rather more than half an 
inch ; the basal part of the culmen of the upper man- 
dible is thinly covered with small feathers. The 
cheeks and throat are of a reddish- white ; the crown 
of the head, the back part of the neck, and the whole 
of the upper plumage are of a rich orange-brown, 
glossed with purplish red, giving it a coppery appear- 
ance. The foreneck and breast are reddish-white, 
tinged with pale purplish-red, and passing upon the 
belly and abdomen into pale wood-brown, slightly 
tinged with pale purplish-red. The tail and quill 
feathers are of the same colour as the back, the first 
quill broad to the tip. The legs and feet are red ; 
the tarsi one and an eighth of an inch in length. 

Another species apparently belonging to this group 
is the 

; ^ 



Peristera larvata. 

Columba larvata Temm. Pig. pi. 31. Id. 8vo. p. 266 
Wag. Syst. Av. sp. 67 Columba a masque blanc, Temm 

Pig. p. 266 Columba Erythrothorax, Temm. Pig. Fam. 

Troisieme, pi. 7. Id. 8vo, 405 Wag. Syst. Av. sp. 68. 

Columbe-Galline face blanche, Temm. Pig. 405. 

IN size and the colour of its upper plumage, this 
species bears a great resemblance to the White- 
bellied Ground Dove. It belongs, however, to a 
different quarter of the world ; as hitherto, it has only 
been found in the southern division of the African 
Continent. In the form of its bill and legs, it is 
true to the type of the genus ; the wings are also 
greatly rounded and concave, and the proportion of 
the respective quill-feathers nearly the same, but it 
wants the sudden attenuation or narrowed point of 
the first feather, as observed in Peristera ruFaxilla; 
in this respect, however, it agrees with the last de- 
scribed, and some other species, which have the first 
quill broad, and without any sudden narrowing near 
the point. 

In M, Temminck's valuable history of the Pigeons, 
two birds have been described under the names of 


Columba larvata, and Columba erythrothorax, the 
first of which is placed in the second section or Co- 
lombes. Although he has made some very pertinent 
remarks on its close affinity to the Ground Doves, 
the other in the third section or Columbe-gallines, 
upon referring to the descriptions of these two birds, 
we cannot find any recognisable distinction between 
them, that of the one answering equally well to the 
other ; and we are strongly inclined to think he has 
described the C. erythrothorax as a distinct species, 
merely in consequence of his belief that the skin 
from which he took his description belonged to an 
American and not an African bird, as he was in- 
formed by the person who possessed it, that it had 
been addressed to him from Surinam, a mistake in 
all probability for Senegal. Our own researches 
have not enabled us to find any American species 
that can possibly be confounded with the African 
bird, specimens of which we possess direct from the 
Cape of Good Hope. We have therefore, to avoid 
further confusion, brought the synonyms of Tem- 
minck's two species together. 

By Le Vaillant, who first discovered the species 
in South Africa, it is stated to inhabit extensive 
woods, where it lives upon the ground, merely be- 
taking itself to low bushes for concealment or repose, 
or to build its nest. This is composed of small 
twigs, and the eggs, which are two in number, are 
stated to be of a yellowish-white colour. It flies 
low, and with a considerable noise of the wings, and 


is difficult to kill, as it generally escapes from the 
opposite of the bushes, in which it takes refuge when 
pursued, or apprehensive of danger. 

In length it measures nearly eleven inches. The 
forehead, the cheeks, and the throat are white. The 
crown, the neck, and the whole of the under plu- 
mage orange-brown, with a purplish tinge, the sides 
of the neck in certain lights reflecting golden-green. 
On the lower part of the hind neck, and commence- 
ment of the mantle, is a large patch or demi-collar 
of blackish purple, the feathers terminated with shin- 
ing golden-green. The rest of the upper plumage 
is brown, with a greenish lustre in certain lights. 
Tail with the two middle feathers brown, the re- 
mainder on each side with their basal part black, 
the tips bluish-grey- Bill bluish-black. Legs and 
feet reddish-brown. 

The subjects of the four remaining Plates differ in 
many respects from all we have yet been engaged 
with, but whether they will form a separate division 
or the three first will enter among the Peristerinae, 
and the Lophyrus alone remain the representative of 
another group, we are unable to determine, not pos- 
sessing sufficient materials to institute so strict an 
analysis as is necessary, or to trace out with preci- 
sion the direct affinities of these species, and the si- 
tuation they hold in respect to the other groups of 
the Columbidse, as well as those of adjoining fa- 
milies. The three first we have provisionally in- 
cluded in the 



IN their form and habits they approach still nearer 
to the typical Gallinaceous Birds than the species 
we have just been describing. Their tarsi are long 
and covered with hexagonal scales ; their tail short 
and rather pendant, their wings concave, short, and 
rounded, and their body, as compared with the 
typical pigeons, thick and heavy. A striking de- 
parture from the general economy of the Colum- 
bidee is further observed in their mode of pro- 
pagation, the number of the eggs they lay each 
hatching not being confined to two, as is seen to 
prevail in the groups already described, but extend- 
ing to eight or ten, which are incubated upon the 
ground, and the young, like those of the true Galli- 
naceous Birds, are produced from the egg in such a 
state as to be able immediately to follow the parent, 
which broods over and attends them like the part- 
ridge or domestic fowl. They live entirely upon the 
ground, except during the hours of repose, when 
they sometimes retire to bushes or the low branches 
of trees. They walk and run with great quickness 
like the Gallinse, and in fact appear to be the forms 
which immediately connect this family with the Pa- 


vonidae and Tetraonidae. Although for the present 
we have placed tlie first three under the same ge- 
neric head, yet from their distinct geographical distri- 
bution, and the difference observed in the bill of 
the first, it is more than probable that a further di- 
vision will be required. 

The first we have to describe is the 



Geophilus ? cyanocephalus. 


Columba cyanocephala, 2. p. 608. sp. 54. W'dgler, Syst. 
Av. sp. 112. Turtur Jamaicensis, Briss. Orn. 1. p. 135. 

t. 13. f. 1 Colombe-Galline a cravate noire, Temm. Pig 

Fam. Trois. pi. 3 Id. 8vo. ed. 390 Blue-headed Tur. 

tie, Lath. Syn. 4. p. 651. 45 Id. Sup. p. 100. 

IN this interesting bird we find a modification in 
the form of the bill, not exhibited by any of the spe- 
cies already described. It is nearly straight, the up- 
per mandible having scarcely any deflection at the 
tip, and the under one being without any apparent 
angle, and so similar in appearance to that of a cer- 
tain species of Turnix, that Temminck observes, the 
bill of the one might be substituted for that of the 
other, without detection. It has also the whole of 
the base of the upper mandible covered with feathers, 
an approximation to which we have seen in the Cop- 
per-coloured Ground-Dove, in which bird the culmen 
or upper part of that mandible is thinly clothed with 
small feathers. The tarsi, which are pretty long, 
are covered with small hexagonal scales, as in the 
two species afterwards to be described ; and the 


(Blue Head- .yeon.) 

Native of Culaa&c. 


wings, which are short, concave, and rounded, indi- 
cate but a weak and inferior power of flight. This 
bird is a native of the southern islands of America, 
and is plentiful in Cuba and Jamaica, in which lat- 
ter island it has obtained from its gallinaceous habits 
the name of partridge. It lives entirely upon the 
ground, where it runs with great rapidity, like the 
above-named bird, the neck being drawn in, and the 
back forming a curve, by the pendant manner in 
which it carries its tail. It nidificates upon the 
ground, and lays several eggs, and the young when 
hatched soon learn to follow the parent. It has a 
deep murmuring note, which is not often heard, the 
bird being of a retired and solitary disposition. 

In size it nearly equals our common partridge, be- 
ing about eleven inches in length. The bill is red- 
dish at the base, the tip grey. The tarsi and feet 
are red, the former, as we have previously observed, 
are covered with hexagonal scales. The head and 
chin are of a fine azure-grey blue. The throat, fore 
neck, and upper breast are black ; the lower tier of 
feathers upon the last named part are tipped with 
white, and form a bar of that colour across the 
breast. From each corner of the mouth a band of 
pure white passes beneath the eyes and meets be- 
hind the head below a black occipital bar of a 
curved or horse-shoe form. The rest of the plu- 
mage, both upper and under, is of a deep bistre 
brown, tinged with vinaceous or purplish- red. 
The next species that claims our attention is 



Geophilus carunculatus. 

Columba carunculata, Temm. Pig. 8vo. p. 415 Wayler, 
Syst. Av. sp. 41 Le Colombe-Galline, Le Vaill. Ois. 
cFAfric. 5. t. 278. Colombe-Galline a Barbillon, Temm. 
Pig. Fam. Trois. pi. 11. 

OF all the species hitherto discovered, there is no 
species, Temminck observes, that shews a more de- 
cided analogy, or rather affinity, to the true Gallina- 
ceous Tribes, both in appearance and manners, than 
the subject of the present Plate, and this likeness is 
rendered still more striking by the accessory appen- 
dages, which ornament the face and throat, and 
which bear so direct an analogy to the wattles of 
the common domestic fowl. It is a native of South 
Africa, and was first discovered by Le Vaillant in 
the Namaqua country, and the following detail of its 
habits and economy is derived from the interesting 
description given by that enterprising and scientific 
traveller, in his splendid work on the African birds. 
Its affinity to the pigeons, he remarks, is shewn by 
the form of its bill, which is modelled exactly after 



I. Th<- Carvuioulated Ground 1 Lgeou. 
Niiiivr of S.At'rica. 


theirs, as also by the nature and texture of its plu- 
mage ; but it differs from them, in possessing a 
naked red wattle, which hangs pendant below the 
bill, in having more elongated tarsi, a rounded body, 
and less graceful form, by the manner in which it 
carries its tail, which is pendant like that of the Par- 
tridge, and lastly, by its rounded wings ; characters, 
he adds, which, by bringing it near to the true Gal- 
linae, naturally place it between the Pigeons and 
these birds, as if to mark and form the passage be- 
tween the two groups. It builds its nest upon the 
ground in some slight depression, making it of twigs 
and the stems of dried grasses, upon which the fe- 
male deposits from six to eight reddish- white eggs, 
which are incubated alternately by both sexes. The 
young, which are evolved from the shell clothed 
with a reddish-grey down, are immediately able to 
run about and follow their parents, which conduct 
and keep them together by a constant and peculiar 
cry, and which brood over them with extended wings, 
either to protect them from the chilly airs of night, 
or to shelter them from the burning ardour of a mid- 
day sun. Their first nutriment consists of the larvae 
of ants and dead insects, as well as worms, which 
are shewn to them by their parents, and which they 
alone devour. As they gain strength, they begin 
to look for their own food, and soon learn to pick 
up all sorts of grain, berries, insects, &c. They con- 
tinue, however, associated in coveys like the Par- 
tridge and other Tetraonidee, until nature again 


urges them to separate and pair, in order to insure 
the propagation of the species. 

In size it about equals the Common Turtle, but 
is thicker and rounder in the body. The base of 
the bill and forehead is covered with a naked red 
skin, and the chin is ornamented with a large wattle, 
which turns upwards on each side towards the ears. 
The head, the cheeks, the neck, and the breast, are 
of a purplish-grey, the mantle, the scapulars, and 
the wing-coverts are pale grey, the feathers finely 
margined with white. The belly and abdomen, the 
upper and under tail-coverts, as well as the flanks 
and under wing-coverts, are pure white. The tail, 
which is short, is rounded, the feathers of a deep 
reddish-brown colour, except the exterior feather on 
each side, which has the outer web white. The 
bill is reddish at the base, the tip black. The legs 
are of a purplish-red and covered with hexagonal 
scales. The iris is composed of a double circle of 
yellow and red. The female resembles the male in 
the distribution of her plumage, but the colours are 
less pure in tint, and she is destitute of the wattle 
upon the throat. 

The subject of our next plate is a form equally 
interesting and curious. It is 

PLATE 33. 

Native of the Island of Kir;> 




Geophilus Nicobaricus. 


Columba Nicobarica, Lath. Ind. Ornith. ii. p. 605. sp. 44. i 
Columba Gallus, Wdgler, Syst. Av. sp. 113. Colombe- 
Galline a Camail, Temm. Pig. p. 5. t. ii. Id, 8vo,p. 385. 
Nicobar Pigeon, Edw. t. 339. female Lath. Syn. iv. 
p. 642, 38. 

IN richness and splendour of plumage, this inte- 
resting species yields to none of the Columbidse, 
though it may not be able to compete in elegance of 
form, or gracefulness of carriage, with others belong- 
ing to the typical groups. Its heavy and rounded 
body, its pendant tail, and concave wings, evidently 
shew its situation to be among the species which 
lead immediately to the typical Rasores, and this. af- 
finity is still further strengthened and confirmed by 
its habits, which closely resemble those of the species 
we have lately been describing. Its habitual resi- 
dence is upon the ground, where it runs with great 
celerity, and it is only during night, or the hours of 
repose, that it perches upon the lower branches and 
limbs of trees.* It makes its nest upon the ground, 

* Mr Bennet asserts, in his description of the splendid 


and lays several eggs, and the young, like those of 
the preceding species, follow the parent birds soon 
after their evolution from the egg. The notes of 
this bird consist of low guttural cooings, not nearly 
so sonorous or pleasing as those of our Common 
Ring Pigeon. Unlike the Columbidse in general, it 
shews but little timidity or wildness of disposition, 
on which account it is easily rendered tame, and 
made an interesting addition to the aviary ; but it 
does not appear that any success has hitherto attend- 
ed the attempts to propagate it out of the warm cli- 
mates of which it is a native. Upon the base of the 
upper mandible of the male (and probably confined 
to the season of love) is a round fleshy tubercle, 
analogous to that we have stated as existing in the 
Carpophaga aenea, and Carpophaga oceanica, a fact 
peculiarly interesting, and which serves to keep up 
the connexion between these otherwise widely sepa- 
rated groups. 

The length of the Nicobar is nearly fifteen inches. 
The bill, which is rather slender, and the tip but 
little deflected, is about an inch and a quarter long. 
The whole of the plumage, with the exception of the 
tail, which is pure white, and the quills, which are 
deep blackish-blue, with greenish reflections, is of a 
rich metallic green, changing with every play of light 

aviary of Mr Beale at Macao, that the Nicobar pigeons 
" were usually seen perched upon the trees, even upon the 
loftiest branches. They build their rude nests, and rear 
their young upon trees, similar to all the pigeon tribe." 
Bennefs Wand. ii. p. 64. 


into golden green, cupreous, and deep purplish-red. 
The feathers upon the neck are long, narrow, and 
acuminate, like those of the domestic cock ; their 
barbules towards the tip silky and distinct. The 
tail is very short and pendant, and nearly square, and 
the wings, when closed, reach nearly to its end. The 
legs, which are robust, and of moderate length, are 
black, and covered with hexagonal scales. The nails 
are yellow, slightly curved, and blunt. 

Besides the Island of Nicobar, from whence its 
trivial name, this species inhabits the Islands of Java 
and Sumatra, as well as many others in the great 
Archipelago of the Moluccas. The female resembles 
the male in the colour of her plumage, but the fea- 
thers upon the neck are not so long or narrow, and 
ehe is also destitute of the maxillary fleshy knob. 

The last bird we have to describe constitutes the 
type of the 



The characters of which are, bill rather slender, a 
little gibbous towards the tip, the upper mandible 
channelled upon the sides. Wings short, rounded. 
Tarsi longer than the middle toe, covered with round 


Native of Java. 


Lophyrus coronatus VIEILLOT. 

Columba coronata, Lath. Ind. Ornith. ii. 566. sp. 9 Wag. 
Syst. Av. sp. 8. Phasianus cristatus Indieus, Briss. Orn. 
i. p. 279. sp. 6. t. 26. f. i Great Crowned Pigeon, Edw. 
t. 338. Lath. Syn. iv. p. 620. Columbi Hocco, Le Vaill 

Ois. d'Afr. vi. t. 280 Colombe-Galline Goura, Temm. 

Pig. Fam. Trois. PL Enl. \ . Id. ed. 8vo, p. 377. 

IN this magnificent and beautiful bird, we observe 
a combination of form different from that of the 
Ground Pigeons, so lately described, for, instead of 
the marked affinity to the typical rasorial families, 
the Pavonidse and Tetraonidse, so decidedly exhibit- 
ed by these species, both in their mode of life, and 
in their deviation from the usual Columbine figure, 
we have, in the present instance, an approximation 
of structure much nearer that of some of the Cracidte, 
another tribe of birds which constitutes an aberrant 
family of the Rasorial Order, and it is on this ac 
count, we think, that this bird cannot well be placed 
in the same division with the Ground Doves, but must 
constitute the type of a separate group. Standing 
as the two families of the Columbidce and Cracidce 



do, the first commencing, the other completing, the 
circle of the Rasorial Order, such a form as that 
of the Lophyrus was required to connect the two 
extremes ; and in this species we have a beautiful il- 
lustration of the manner in which Nature has con- 
trived to sustain, in this order of the feathered race, 
that circular succession of affinities, which appears 
to prevail throughout the whole of animated matter. 
In the form of its bill, its voice, and mode of pro- 
pagation, it shews its near relation to the Typical 
Pigeons more decidedly than the Ground Pigeons 
already described ; but its gait, its elevated crest, its 
short wings, and lengthened tail, are so much in ac- 
cordance with those of the Cracidtf, that Temminck 
observes, to make it a Hocco or species of Crasa \\, 
exterior, it would only be necessary to substitute the 
bill of the one bird for the other. The Crowned 
Goura is a native of many of the islands of the great 
Indian Archipelago, being by no means rare in Java 
and Bauda. Ju New Guinea it is abundant, as well 
as in most of the Molucca Islands. It inhabits the 
forests, and feeds upon berries, seeds, grain, &c. Its 
nest is built upon a tree, and, like the majority of 
the Columbidse, it lays but two eggs each hatching 
The voice of the male is a hoarse murmuring or 
cooing, accompanied by a noise, seemingly produced 
by the compression or forcible ejection of the air 
contained within the thorax, something similar to 
that so frequently heard from the turkey, when, 
strutting with expanded tail, he pays his court to 


the female. Temminck conjectures, from this pe- 
culiar noise, that its tracheal artery or windpipe may 
probably bear some affinity or resemblance to that 
of some of the Cracidse, in which this organ is great- 
ly lengthened, and makes certain convolutions before 
it enters the lungs. We regret that no opportunity 
of examining the internal structure of this interest- 
ing bird has offered itself, nor can we find any ob- 
servations made by others, which have reference to 
this part of its anatomy. By the Dutch it is fre- 
quently brought to Europe from their East Indian 
possessions, but being of a delicate constitution, and 
impatient of cold, it seldom long survives in the hu- 
mid and comparatively chill temperature of Holland. 
In consequence, all attempts to propagate or render 
it available in the poultry -yard have hitherto failed, 
which is greatly to be regretted, not more on account 
of its external beauty, than for its excellent flavour 
as a wholesome and nutritious food. 

In size it exceeds all the other Columbine species, 
being from twenty-seven to twenty-eight inches in 
extreme length. The bill, which is two inches long, 
is black ; the tips of the mandibles thickened, and 
that of the upper one moderately deflected. The 
head is adorned with a large, elevated, semicircular 
and compressed crest, composed of narrow straight 
feathers, furnished with disunited silky barbules, and 
always carried erect. This, as well as the head, the 
neck, and all the inferior parts of the body, are aof 
pure greyish-blue colour. The back, the scapulars, 


and smaller wing-coverts, have the feathers blaek at 
the base, the tips terminated with rich purplish - 
brown. The greater coverts are of the same colour, 
but with a broad central bar of white, which forms a 
conspicuous transverse band across the closed wings. 
The quills and tail are of a deep grey, the latter ha- 
ving all the feathers terminated with greyish-blue. 
The legs are grey ; the tarsi, three inches and a quar- 
ter in length, are covered with rounded scales not 
closely set, but shewing a whitish margin of bare 
skin around each. The toes are strong and rather 
short, the scales disposed as in the Typical Pigeons. 







AT the conclusion of this very interesting and learned 
treatise upon this beautiful class of the feathered race 
one with which we are so intimately familiar it 
has occurred to the Publisher, that a few observations 
relating to the breeding, feeding, and rearing of the 
pigeon, with some directions respecting the dovecote, 
may be esteemed not an unsuitable adjunct. To our 
juvenile readers this must be an important matter; 
for, where is there a boy, who does not admire and cul- 
tivate the pigeon with anxious solicitude, decorating its 


cote with mirrors, and prosecuting all other practices, 
whether legitimate or not, for its increase? while to 
those of maturer years, the congregation of facts upon 
any subject is ever acceptable, when these supersede 
the labour of personal investigation and research. 

Although, in point of national economy, it may be 
doubted whether the cultivation of this group of birds 
be profitable, yet from their peculiar beauty and in- 
nocent manners, they well deserve the regard of man- 
kind. In eastern regions, the dove has always been 
venerated ; and even in Christian countries, it has 
ever been regarded with delight. Every one is aware 
of its being the honoured bearer of the olive leaf to 
the prisoners in the ark of the deluge. 

But altogether apart from these considerations, it is 
very doubtful, whether the pigeon be not as much a 
protector as a destroyer of land under cultivation ; for 
although there can be no question that these birds 
consume and destroy a great deal of grain, yet it must 
not be lost sight of, that they also devour a great quan- 
tity of the seed of many noxious weeds, which, if per- 
mitted to grow, would be more prejudicial to agricul- 
ture than all the corn they abstract from the soil or 
sheaf, in the spring and autumn. 

It is recorded in Mowbray's Practical Treatise, 


1842, that pigeons will rather fly to a great distance 
for corn, than content themselves with other food ; and 
that by means of various expedients, they contrive to 
acquire these viands fully three quarters in each year, 
the remainder of the twelve months being taken up in 
the search for the seeds of weeds and bentings. 

The gross amount of this consumption of corn has 
been computed at 157,500,000 pints, 4,921,875 Win- 
chester bushels, the value of which may be estimated 
at 1,476,562, 10s. 

To this fearful estimate is added the loss to the 
country by their picking up grains sown in spring and 
autumn, and which are, consequently, prevented from 
growing up for the food of man. However, as far as 
our own experience and observation enable us to judge, 
we are inclined very much to doubt the correctness of 
these calculations ; for, with respect to the consumption 
of seed sown, it is only that which rests on the surface 
which is taken ; and if pigeons have any thing like 
a proper allowance of food served to them by their 
keepers, or a fair chance of the stable or straw-yard, 
they do not incline to wander much from home. 

In the choice of situation for the dovecote, care 
should be taken to select one with a southern exposure, 
for the bird delights in warmth, so that the more the 


sun can be made to penetrate into the recesses of their 
dwelling the better. The access to the nests, from the 
outside, should be as direct and easy as possible ; and 
the nests should be free and unconfined, for the pigeon 
delights in liberty. 

The pigeon being one of that class of birds which 
is very regardless of the form of its nest, in so far as 
the comfort of itself or offspring is concerned, it is of 
much importance to attend to the cleanliness of the 
nest before the business of incubation is commenced; 
and, at the same time, to place a little straw therein, 
both to protect the egg and also the young when hatched. 
The attendant should be careful to inspect the apart- 
ment, at least once a-week, early in the forenoon, for 
the purpose of removing dead birds, eggs which have 
not been fortunate, or any other nuisance which may 
have accumulated. The apartment should be kept 
clean also throughout the year, but more particularly 
after the spring and autumn flights, to be afterwards 
explained ; and this operation should be set about 
quietly and cautiously, in the early part of the fore- 
noon, while the birds are absent feeding in the fields. 
Upon this, as well as other points, we cannot do better 
than quote from a very able book upon this, as well as 
upon other subjects connected with rural affairs : viz. 


Practical Agriculture, &c., by R. W. Dickson, M. D., 

" It is also of importance in the economy of these 
birds, that the floor of the dovecote be nearly upon a 
level with the holes where they enter, and that these 
holes be not too large or too numerous : the holes where 
they form their nests should not be much enclosed, as 
pigeons delight in being at liberty. Salt and strong 
scents, such as that of assafoetida, are said to be agree- 
able to these birds, so as frequently to attach them to 
their habitations. 

" The pigeon seldom lays more than two eggs, which 
are sat upon about twenty days, by the male and female 
alternately. They are capable of breeding frequently, 
but in general produce only two or three broods or 
flights in the year. There are several sorts, but the 
common blue pigeon is probably the most productive. 
The tumblers are small, but very domestic. 

After recommending the harvest flight of pigeons 
as the most proper for the purpose of stock, as being 
the strongest to withstand the winter season, the author 
of the * Experienced Farmer' gives the following direc- 
tions on the management of these birds : In regard to 
feeding them, it is advised as only necessary during 
the season, between seed-time and harvest, when * it 


should be done by three or four o'clock in the morning ; 
as they rise early. If you serve them much later, 
they will keep hovering about home, and be prevented 
taking their necessary exercise.' If fed ' the year 
round, they will not breed near so well as if forced to 
seek their own food ; for they pick up in the fields 
what is pleasant and healthy to them ; and from the 
beginning of the harvest to the end of seed-time they 
find plenty/ They may be fed with tares, grain, or 
seeds of any kind. 

" Be cautious of not letting the first flight fly to 
increase the flock, but let every one of them be taken ; 
as these will come in what is called benting-time, that 
is, between seed-time and harvest. It is then that 
pigeons are the scarcest ; and many of the young ones 
would pine to death through weakness during that 

" At the latter end of every flight, care should be 
taken to destroy all those eggs which were not layed 
in a proper time. The proper time for the spring- 
flight is in April and May. After the harvest-flight, 
cold weather begins to come on, which injures the old 
pigeon much if she sits late; and the young will be 
good for nothing if hatched.' 

"It is very necessary to observe cleanliness in 


the management of a dovecote. Before breeding- 
time the holes ought to be carefully examined and 
cleaned ; for if any of the young die in the holes in 
summer, maggots are soon bred in them ; they become 
putrid and emit a disagreeable and unwholesome stench, 
very injurious to the inhabitants of the dovecote. 
Pigeons are tenacious of their nests, as appears from 
the conduct of the wood-pigeon, which will breed for 
years in the same tree, and the mother forsakes her 
nest with regret ; but, unable to endure the filth and 
stench of her dead offspring, she is obliged to quit the 
eggs she has laid for a second brood, and the prime of 
the season is lost. Every summer, immediately after 
the first flight, the nest should be all cleaned out, and 
the dung totally taken away, as it breeds filth. But 
remember to do this business early in the morning. 
The remaining eggs ought likewise to be destroyed, 
and a perfectly clean habitation made for the harvest- 

" It is advised * never to go into a dovecote later 
than mid-day, but as early in a morning as convenient. 
Whatever repairs are necessary, either to the building 
or to the nests, should be done before noon ; for if you 
disturb the pigeons in the afternoon, they will not rest 
contentedly the whole night; and the greatest part, 


perhaps, will not enter the cote until the next day, but 
will sit moping on the ground; and, if in breeding- 
time, either a number of eggs may be spoiled, or se- 
veral young ones starved to death/ 

" Pigeons are supposed to be more productive from 
the breeds being crossed, in proof of which a few tame 
pigeons were put into a dovecote ; and the consequence 
was, that a more early and more numerous hatch of 
young were produced than in any of the neighbouring 

" These birds have a great antipathy to owls, which 
find their way sometimes into dovecotes ; and there is 
no getting rid of such troublesome guests but by de- 
stroying them. * Rats are terrible enemies to pigeons, 
and will soon destroy a whole dovecote. Cats, weasels, 
and squirrels will do the same. It will be necessary, 
therefore, to examine the dovecote once every week 
at least, very minutely,' to see that there are none of 
these intruders. 

" Pigeons ' make an extraordinary good manure, 
which, if worked up into a compost, instead of being 
used in the present slovenly way, would be of still 
more value.' " 

We also quote from London's Encyclopaedia of Agri- 
* Experienced Farmer. 


culture the following valuable observations, directions, 
&C-. : 

" Of the pigeon (Columba, L.), there are three species, 
and many varieties in cultivation. The species are, the 
common, ring, and turtle-doves, all natives of Britain. 
The varieties of the common pigeon, enumerated by 
Linnaeus, amount to twenty-one ; but those of the pigeon 
fanciers to more than double that number. The ring- 
dove (O. palumbus, L.), and the turtle-dove (C. turtur), 
with the greater number of the varieties, are cultivated 
only by a few persons known as pigeon fanciers ; but 
the common pigeon, of different colours, is cultivated 
for the table. The flesh of the young pigeon is very 
savoury and stimulating, and highly valued for pies; 
that of the full aged pigeon is more substantial, harder 
of digestion, and in a considerable degree heating. 
Black or dark feathered pigeons are dark fleshed, and 
of high flavour, inclining to the game bitter of the 
wild pigeon. Light coloured feathers denote light and 
delicate flesh. The dung of pigeons is used forjian,- 
ning upper leathers for shoes ; it is also an excellent 
manure. Pigeons are now much less cultivated than 
formerly, being found injurious to corn fields, and espe- 
cially to fields of peas. They are, however, very orna- 
mental ; a few may be kept by most farmers, and fed 


with the common poultry, and some who breed domestic 
fowls, on a large scale, may perhaps find it worth while 
to add the pigeon to their number. 

" The variety of pigeon most suitable for the common 
pigeon-house, is the grey pigeon, inclining to ash colour 
and black; which generally shows fruitfulness by the 
redness of the eyes and feet, and by the ring of gold 
colour which is about the neck. 

" The varieties of the fancy breeders are numerous, 
and distinguished by a variety of different names, as 
carriers, croppers, powters, horsemen, runts, jacobines, 
turbits, helmets, nuns, tumblers, barbs, petits, owls, 
spots, trumpeters, shakers, turners, finikins, &c. From 
these, when differently paired, are bred bastard pigeons ; 
thus from the cropper or powter, and the carrier, is 
bred the powting horsemen ; from the tumbler and the 
horsemen, dragoons, &c. 

" In the selection of pigeons for the stocking of a 
new cote, care must be taken to procure those of a very 
young sort, called squeakers, which being confined to 
their future place of residence, and well fed for a few 
days, will not be inclined to wander away, while it 
will be found next to impossible to domesticate old 
birds to any other locality than their own. 

" Pigeons sometimes lose themselves, even in the 


neighbourhood of their own cote, which is awkward 
during incubation, as in a few hours the eggs will be 
rendered useless ; but if an accident of this kind hap- 
pens after hatching, either of the parents, if one is left, 
will be sufficient to bring up the young. If both be 
lost, the young birds are easily accustomed to be fed 
from the hand, the food being small peas, tares, or 
barley, the preference being given to the two former. 
Should the birds be only about a week old, they will 
require to be fed with softer substances, such as bread 
and milk boiled into a pap. 

" In breeding, the pigeon lays two white eggs, which 
produce young ones of different sexes. When the 
eggs are laid, the female sits fifteen days, not including 
the three days she is employed in laying, and is re- 
lieved at intervals by the male. The turns are gene- 
rally pretty regular. The female usually sits from 
about five in the evening till nine the next morning ; 
at which time the male supplies her place, while she 
is seeking refreshment abroad. Thus they sit alter- 
nately till the young are hatched. If the female does 
not return at the expected time, the male seeks her, 
and drives her to the nest ; and should he in his turn 
be neglectful, she retaliates with equal severity. When 
the young ones are hatched, they only require warmth 


for the first three days ; a task which the female takes 
entirely upon herself, and never leaves them except 
for a few minutes to take a little food. After this 
they are fed about ten days, with what the old ones 
have picked up in the fields, and kept treasured in 
their crops, from whence they satisfy the craving ap- 
petite of their young ones, who receive it very greedily. 
This way of supplying the young with food from the 
crop, in birds of the pigeon-kind, differs from all others. 
The pigeon has the largest crop of any bird for its 
size, which is also quite peculiar to the kind. In two 
that were dissected by an eminent anatomist, it was 
found, that upon blowing the air into the windpipe, 
it distended the crop or gullet to an enormous size. 
Pigeons live entirely upon grain and water ; these 
being mixed together in the crop, are digested in pro- 
portion as the bird lays in its provision. Young 
pigeons are very ravenous, which necessitates the old 
ones to lay in a more plentiful supply than ordinary, 
and to give it a sort of half maceration in the crop, to 
make it fit for their tender stomachs. The numerous 
glands, assisted by air and the heat of the bird's body, 
are the necessary apparatus for secreting a sort of pap, 
or milky fluid (commonly called pigeon's milk) ; but as 
the food macerates, it also swells, and the crop is con- 


siderably dilated. If the crop were filled with solid 
substances, the bird could not contract it; but it is 
obvious the bird has the power to compress its crop at 
pleasure, and by discharging the air, can drive the 
food out also, which is forced up the gullet with great 
ease. The young usually receives this tribute of affec- 
tion from the crop three times a-day. The male, for 
the most part, feeds the young female, and the old 
female performs the same service for the young male. 
While the young are weak, the old ones supply them 
with food macerated, suitable to their tender frame ; 
but, as they gain strength, the parents give it less pre- 
paration, and at last drive them out, when a craving 
appetite obliges them to shift for themselves; for 
when pigeons have plenty of food, they do not wait 
for the total dismission of their young; it being a 
common thing to see young ones fledged, and eggs 
hatching at the same time and in the same nest. 

" The terms applied to pigeons of different ages are, 
the youngest, when fed by the cock and hen, squabs, 
at which age they are most in demand for pies. Under 
six months of age, they are termed squeakers ; at that 
age they begin to breed, and then, or earlier, they are 
in the fittest state for removal to a strange situation. 

" In respect to food, pigeons are entirely granivorous, 


and very delicate and cleanly in their diet ; they will 
sometimes eat green aromatic vegetables, but are fondest 
of seeds; and tares, and the smallest kind of horse- 
beans, is the most suitable food both in point of eco- 
nomy and fattening qualities. Pease, wheat, buck- 
wheat, and even barley, oats, &c., are also eaten by 
pigeons, but old tares may be reckoned their very best 
food ; new tares, pease, or beans, are reckoned scour- 
ing. Wherever pigeons are kept, the best way to keep 
them chiefly at home, and thereby both prevent their 
being lost, and their doing injury to corn-crops, is to 
feed them well : this is also the only way in which, in 
modern times, they will afford abundance of fat and 
delicate squabs for the table, which, well fed, they will 
do every month in the year, and thus afford a constant 
supply of delicate stimulating food. Pigeons are gene- 
rally fed in the open air adjoining their cote or house ; 
but in inclement weather, or to attach new pigeons to 
their home, both food and water should be given inter- 
nally. That this may be done without waste, and 
without frequently disturbing the birds, two contriv- 
ances are in use ; the first is the meat-box or hopper, 
from whence grain or pulse descends from the hopper, 
as eaten out of a small shallow box ; the next is the 
water-bottle, an ovate, long naked bottle, reversed in 


a small basin, to which it serves as a reservoir. Any 
bottle will do, but the pigeons are apt to alight on and 
dirty such as, when reversed, present a flat top. 

" Pigeons being fond of salt, what is called a pigeon- 
cat is placed in the midst of the pigeon-house, or in 
the open air near it. It seems these birds are fond of 
salt and hot substances, and constantly swallow small 
stones to promote digestion. The salt-cat is thus com- 
posed ; gravel or drift-sand, unctuous loam, the rubbish 
of an old wall, or lime, a gallon of each ; should lime 
be substituted for rubbish, a less quantity of the for- 
mer will suffice ; one pound of cummin-seed, one hand- 
ful of bay-salt ; mix with stale urine. Inclose this in 
jars, corked or stopped, holes being punched in the 
sides, to admit the beaks of the pigeons. These may 
be placed abroad. They are very fond of this mix- 
ture, and it prevents them from pecking the mortar 
from the roofs of their houses, which they are other- 
wise very apt to do. 

" Cleanliness is one of the first and most important 
considerations : the want of it in a dovecote, will soon 
render the place a nuisance not to be approached, and 
the birds, both young and old, will be so covered with 
vermin, and besmeared with their own excrement, that 

they can enjoy no health or comfort, and mortality is 



often so induced. Mowbray's were cleaned daily, 
thoroughly once a week, a tub standing at hand for 
the reception of the dung ; the floor covered with sifted 
gravel, often renewed. 

" Pigeon-houses are of three kinds, small boarded 
cases fixed on posts, trees, or against the ends of 
houses; lofts fitted up with holes or nests; and de- 
tached buildings. The first are generally too small to 
contain a sufficient brood, and are also too subject to 
variations of temperature ; and the last, on the other 
hand, are now-a-days too large, and therefore the most 
suitable for the farmer, is a loft or tower, rising from 
a building, in which no noisy operation is carried on. 
The lofts of any of the farm-buildings, at a distance 
from the threshing-machine are suitable, or a loft or 
tower over any detached building will answer well ; 
but the best situation of all is a tower raised from the 
range of poultry-buildings, where there is such a 
range, as the pigeons can thus be more conveniently 
treated, and will feed very readily with domestic 
poultry. For a tower of this sort, the round form 
should be preferred to the square; because the rats 
cannot so easily come at them in the former as in the 
latter. It is also much more commodious; as, by 
means of a ladder, turning round upon an axis, it is 


possible to visit all the nests in the house, without the 
least difficulty, which cannot be so easily done in a 
house of the square form. And in order to hinder 
rats from climbing up the outside of it, the wall should 
be covered with tin-plates to a certain height, as about 
a foot and a half, which should project out three or 
four inches at the top, to prevent their getting up 
more effectually. A common mode in France, is to 
raise a boarded room, on a strong post, powerfully 
braced, the interior sides of which are lined with 
boxes for the birds, and the exterior, east and west 
sides, with balconies or sills for them to alight on and 
enter to their boxes. The north and south sides are 
lined with boxes inside, but without openings, as being 
too cold on the one front and too warm on the other. 

" The interior of the pigeon-house must be lined 
with nests or holes, subdivided either by stone, as in 
the ancient mural pigeon-houses ; by boards, or each 
nest composed of a vase or vessel of earthenware fixed 
on its side. Horizontal shelves, divided vertically at 
three feet distance, are generally esteemed preferable 
to every other mode ; the width of the shelf may be 
twenty inches, the height between shelf and shelf 
eighteen inches; and a slip of board three or four 
inches high is carried along the front of the partitions 


to keep in the nests. Sometimes, also, a partition of 
similar height is fixed in the middle of each three-feet 
division, which thus divides it into two nests. This, 
Mowbray and Girton concur in recommending as 
likely to prevent the young from running to the hen 
when sitting over fresh eggs, and perhaps occasioning 
her to cool and addle them ; for when the young are 
about a fortnight or three weeks old, a good hen will 
leave them to the care of the cock, and lay again. 
Some prefer breeding-holes with no board in front, for 
the greater convenience of cleaning the nests ; but as 
the squabs are apt to fall out by this practice, a good 
way would be to contrive the board in front to slip up 
and down in a groove, by which each nest might be 
cleaned at pleasure. As tame pigeons seldom take the 
trouble of making a nest, it is better to give them one 
of hay, to prevent the eggs from rolling. There are 
also straw buckets, made in the form of nests, and also 
nests or pans of earthenware. Where pans are used, 
it is common to place a brick between them (two 
being placed in a breeding hole), for the cock and hen 
to alight on ; but on the whole, straw nests are best. 
The pigeon-house has two entrances, one a common 
sized door for man, either on the ground level, or to 
be ascended to by a ladder, as used formerly to be the 


case; and the other on a rising above the roof, and 
consisting of small holes, three or four, by twelve or 
fourteen inches for the entrance of the pigeons. A 
series of ranges of these are generally placed over each 
other, in a boarded front looking to the south, with a 
shelf to each range, and surrounded by a row of iron 
spikes to protect them from cats. The elevation of 
pigeon-houses, as already described, are of endless 

" The breeding holes constitute the fixtures of the 
pigeon-house; its utensils are the hopper and bottle 
already described, a barrel or box for food, a step lad- 
der to reach the nests, and some other articles not pe- 
culiar to this department of rural economy. The 
pigeon-trap for enticing and entrapping the pigeons of 
others, we do not describe." 

Although the Persians do not eat pigeons, they ap- 
pear to make an extensive and important use of their 
dung as manure. See the following quotation from 
the same book : 

" The dung of pigeons is so highly prized in Persia, 
that many pigeon-houses are erected at a distance 
from habitations, for the sole purpose of collecting 
their manure. They are large round towers, rather 
broader at the bottom than at the top, and crowned by 


conical spiracles through which the pigeons descend. 
Their interior resembles a honeycomb, forming nu- 
merous holes for nests; and the outsides are painted 
and ornamented. The dung is applied almost entirely 
to the rearing of melons, a fruit indispensable to the 
natives of warm countries during the great heats of 
summer, and also the most rapidly raised in seasons of 
scarcity ; and hence the reason, that during the famine 
of Samaria, a cab of dove's dung was sold for five 
pieces of silver, 2 Kings vi. 25." Morier's Second 
Journey, &c., 141. 

" Pigeons in new lodgings are apt sometimes to 
forsake their habitations. Many nostrums have been 
recommended to prevent them from doing so; but if 
squabs be selected, cleanliness and security attended 


to, and a salt cot placed in or near the house, there 
will be little danger of this taking place. Fumigations, 
with highly odoriferous drugs, or even assafoetida, is 
also said to attract pigeons to a neglected dovecote, or 
attach them to a new one. 

" Diseases of Pigeons. Fancy pigeons, being many 
of them monstrous productions, are very subject to dis- 
eases. Girton enumerates upwards of a dozen, with 
their cures, including the corruption of the egg in the 
uterus, from over high feeding ; a gorged crop from 
voracious feeding ; insects from filthiness in the pigeon 
house, and the canker from cocks fighting with each 
other. Little can be done in the way of curing any of 
these diseases, otherwise than by recurrence to the 
proper regimen ; if this does not speedily take effect, 
it is better to put the bird hors de peine, both for hu- 
manity's sake, and to prevent infection. Fortunately, 
the common pigeon, reared for the table, is little liable 
to diseases. 

" Laws respecting Pigeons. By the 1st of James, 
c. 27, shooting, or destroying pigeons by other means, 
on the evidence of two witnesses, is punishable by a 
fine of 20s. for every bird killed or taken ; and by the 
2d of Geo. III. c. 29, the same oifence may be proved 
by one witness, and the fine is 20s. to the prosecutor. 


Any lord of the manor or freeholder, may bu 
pigeon-house upon his own land, but a tenant c 
do it without the lord's licence. Shooting or t 
within a certain distance of the pigeon house, re 
the person liable to pay a forfeiture." 

Printed by W. H. Lizars, Edinburgh.